Friday, July 26, 2013

More Gun Porn

Something to keep you entertained in between my projects

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Project: KNIVES!

Before we begin this post be sure to see my updates in Movie Guns....

OK, so I need another hobby like I need another hole in my head......but knife making has always intrigued me. My Grandfather was a Blacksmith and when he wasn't making horseshoes or other tools, he made knives. His knives were legendary for keeping an edge, but they were definitely not something anyone would call pretty or a work of art.

While I do not plan (at this point anyway) on buying a forge, anvil and hammers, I decided I wanted to try and make my own knives.

I bought these two blanks, they were nearly finished before the Camilus factory closed down. These were made for Remington and are marked "Made in the USA".
The blanks have all ready been ground and heat treated, all I need to do is install a handle, polish the steel and put a final edge on it.

This is what the factory finished knife looks like

Here are a couple of other Remington Knives that have the same handle, but different blade contour.

I also bought these two Schrade "Gut Hook" blanks, these have not been tempered or ground, just cut out and stamped "Shrade USA 1430T". I will need to drill holes for the handle, file, grind, temper then draw temper the steel before polishing and putting a final edge on. These are also from the now closed Camilus Knife Factory, to read the story of its demise, follow this link:

This is what the factory finished gut hook knife looks like

I bought this one as well, it looks like a butter knife, I'm still not sure if this is a straight razor or a table knife. It already has been tempered, polished and sharpened, it just needs a handle. The knife is stamped F. Herder ABR. SOHN Solingen with a spade, This company has been in business since 1727, but the family has been making knives since 1623!

Anyway, we will be picking out materials to use for the handles (often called "scales") and the material to attach them to the tangs. I'll update this post as I go.

I started on one of the gut hook knives by cutting the gut hook portion with a rat tail file, I then began filing down the top edge, I am not sure at this point if I will put an edge on the top half of the knife yet.

On one of the Remington knives I started cleaning up the edges with a file and 100 grit emory cloth

I also bought another blank, this one is also a Remington, made in USA.

I cannot find a picture of what the factory finished knife looked like, it appears to be a clip point, so that is how I will cut the edge on it.

The updates to this post have been slow in coming, so here is a quick update.
I have been shopping for wood scales for my knives and found a deal on ebay with seveal different kinds of wood, I think there is some Zebra wood, Purple Heart, Cocobolo & Walnut, I'm no expert so I'm not sure what they all are, but here they are

My friend on the Oregon Coast got me a nice piece of Myrtle wood, it has a "shimmer" to it like pearl.
At the last gun show I found a vendor selling scrap pieces of high end Walnut, including: Claro, English, Bastogne and Royal
I was also lucky enough to find the original Rosewood handles that Remington put on their knives, I then found a piece of brass as well, now I have to get some brass pins and epoxy.
I sourced the two sizes of brass pins that I needed.  I went to cut the brass piece for the front of the handle and realized that I would not be able to make it fit until the handles were permanently attached.

I also wanted to add some spacers to the scales, I originally wanted red but couldn't find any material. I found an old folder that was green and decided to use it, green is Remington's color anyway.
  Next I hand fitted the pins, using a file to take off small amounts of material at a time.
I wanted the pins to just barely protrude from the wood, there is a relief area for the peened metal to go into, but I didn't want too much metal and risk cracking the wood.
I decided to expoxy the handles in place with the pins installed, I will peen the pins when the epoxy dries.
OK, now that the handles and pins are in place I can begin fitting the brass bolsters.
I had to thin the handle where it meets the brass, as the brass was a bit thinner and I wanted a seamless transition. The pink/amber sanding dust is proof, this is real rosewood.
I could have used the belt sander for this, but I preferred to do it by hand to make sure I didn't take too much material
Here you can see how much I had to taper the handle.

The 1st side is done (epoxy dried) so I started on the other side. I cut the piece big and used a file to hand fit the brass

Fitted and glued on, now I need to file, sand and polish

 I like to do a lot of this by hand, I used an aggressive file to take the brass down level with the tang

After the initial filing was done, I filled the holes on the back pins using epoxy and some of the saw dust I collected from sanding the rosewood.

The epoxy/wood filler worked great. I sanded the handle down smooth and began working on the polishing

The rosewood polishes very nicely, I would have called this done, but I noticed some light sanding marks that I will need to get out and do another round of polishing.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Surplus Guns

For years surplus guns have been a great way to get into the gun hobby for cheap. This started with the release of the WWI & WWII weapons in the 1950's & 60'sAt one time you could order a surplus M1911 from the CMP for $15 and have it delivered to your door (sans dealer paperwork). The surplus 1911s are gone, as are the 1903 Springfields, but thanks to the Lend-Lease program many M-1 Rifles and Carbines are available.

Most of the M-1 Garands will be of Springfield manufacture, but you may get lucky with a Winchester or International Harvester. Of course WWII vintage Garands are the most sought after

 When it comes to the M-1 Carbine, there were many more manufacturers, ten war time producers with Rock-Ola Juke box company versions being the rarest, there were also paratrooper models with folding stocks (designed to fit in a thigh mounted holster)

There are other WWII vintage guns available, you can easily find the Soviet Rifle known as the 91/30 Mosin-Nagant. These are available in arsenal refinished condition and are great shooters. If you are lucky you might find a battle worn one that has not been "re-arsenaled".

The best part is you can find them for $100-$150. Again War time built guns are more desirable as are the older hex receiver guns

Another war time rifle that is still plentiful is the Japanese Arisaka rifle. Several variations exist and some collectors search for models known as "last ditch" guns, these were hastily built guns during the final days of the war when parts to complete the guns were scarce, so some "improvising" had to be done. Again war time dates are better as are finding one with the "mum" still in place. The Japanese Government put out an edict that all surrendered guns must have the chrysanthemum flower ground off. The chrysanthemum was the symbol of the Japanese empire and they thought it would be sacralidge to surrender a gun with the mum on it. The ones with the mum intact either slipped through the cracks or were taken from dead Japanese soldiers and brought home by the US GIs.


 Mauser K-98s are still available as are the many variants from Argentina, Turkey, Spain, Siam just to name a few. Mitchell's Mausers has restored WWII vintage guns for a very reasonable price ( They also stock Lugers and Walther pistols.
 It is getting difficult to find an original, unmolested one as many were sporterized during the 50's & 60's. 

Speaking of Walther pistols, these are also in plentiful supply, good luck in finding a WWII vintage with the Nazi proofmarks, but they are out there. Most of the P-38 and P-1 pistols available are post war versions with aluminum frames, which spent time as police duty weapons in Europe.

 If you have your heart set on a WWII vintage handgun, you may be able to get a Tokarev pistol to suit your desire. They were made by the Soviet Union during WWII and many (if not all) of their Eastern Block states. The most common are the Romanian and Yugoslavian. Import rules now require a safety be installed, so if you find one without the safety, it is a good score.
China also makes them (in 9mm as well as the 7.62 x 25mm) Ammo was once plentiful, but has since dried up somewhat. There are some commercial rounds available, but the price is a little on the steep side.

The Russian 1895 Nagant pistol is also easy to come by, not all that much fun to shoot, but they are cheap and very unique.

More guns from Eastern Europe include the CZ guns, both the CZ 50 & CZ 52 can be found from importers for reasonable prices

You can also score a surplus 9mm Makarov pistol from the former Soviet Union. They are also available new. 
Be careful what ammo you use as these do not shoot the standard 9mm Luger (9x19mm) round, they use the Russian 9x18mm, some of the new ones can be had in .380 ACP as well (9x17mm).

Another surplus gun that you can get from the "Mother land" is the Simonov Karbine, also known as the SKS. The Russian, North Korean and North Vietnamese ones are the most desirable, but the Yugoslavian and Albanian are also very popular with collectors. Starting in the 1990's the U.S market was flooded with Chinese made SKSs, some of which were built on Soviet tooling and were of really good quality.

An agreement made during the 1990's allowed for the importation of fully automatic AK-47s, although the guns had to be "de-milled" and the full auto parts removed, they were sold as "kits". A cottage industry sprang up to supply parts to rebuild these rifles into working semi-auto, legal versions. The kits came from Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Hungary and even Russia.

Under the same concept you can score an FN FAL kit

When discussing surplus guns we cannot forget the domestic market of used Police guns. Most of the revolvers are all gone (although J&G had some S&W model 64s a few months back), most of what is out there are surplus semi-auto pistols. Sometimes a deal can be had, especially if buying in bulk.
Used Glock 17s and Beretta 92s are out there, many times the guns were carried a lot, but shot very little.

There are many others out there, the PPS, & PPSH, Suomis, FEGs, etc.. If you are interested in getting a surplus gun, pick up a copy of the Shotgun news sometime.