Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gunsmithing Cheap Tricks

Here is a list of easy and low budget gun modifications and repairs that just about anyone can perform with minimal tools or expertise.

1. Making a shotgun bead from a brass screw
I stole this idea from a guy on the Firearms talk forum. I even tried it myself with limited success. Basically you find a brass screw, file it down to a round bead, drill & tap your barrel and Bob's your uncle!

2. DIY Camouflage  
There are no rules, simply change the look of the gun by adding colors, lines and shading. This will help it blend in. Use any natural flora for the templates, some netting or make your own.
Here is my Savage rifle, I used cedar branches.

The Kitchen Table Gunsmith did a pretty spiffy job on this shotgun....see the write up here:

A couple more for inspiration
This guy used some netting

you could also use a small sponge to get a digital camo type effect

3. 1911 Slide release chamfer. 
putting a small chamfer on your slide release will ease in assembly of your 1911 pistol and help prevent the dreaded "idiot scratch". A small rat tail or 1/2 round file is all that is needed.

You can alternatively make or buy one of these little plates to protect the frame of your 1911 during assembly.

4. Ruger Mark 1, II, III magazine modification
In the picture below you can see the magazine on the left has had some material removed from the leading edge of the rear feel lip. This helps prevent the empty .22 cases from catching on the magazine and stove-piping, jamming up your gun and putting the brakes on your groove. A simple mod that can be done with a file and while you are at it you can clean the inside of your dirty magazine.

5. Buggered Screw restoration
Almost every restoration project I tackle includes restoring one or more screws. This is simple and any one can do it with a few tools. Once fixed up you can cold blue them or heat blue them. See my write up here

Larry Potterfield shows us how it is done

6. Color Filling Roll Marks
You can use grease pencils, wax crayons or nail polish. some people use heat to melt the crayons...when using nail polish, wipe any excess with non-Acetone nail polish remover. It adds a nice touch.
Youtube has dozens of how to videos on this

7. Steaming out Dents
Using a wet towel and a standard clothes iron, you can lift dents out of wood stocks.The science is pretty simple, the water soaks into the wood, when you quickly heat up the wood, the water turns to steam and in its haste to get airborne, it lifts the dents in the surface of the wood.
here is Master Gunsmith Larry Potterfield showing you how it is done:

8. Sight Paint
You don't need to spend a small fortune buying new sights, you can buy high quality sight paint from companies like Bright Sights
They even have a glow in the dark kit for an affordable alternative to night sights. You can get them at Midway USA
9. Plastic Dye
If you are unhappy with the color of your polymer stock or magazine, you may be able to dye it a different color. The rule of thumb is that you can only go darker. People have been creating new colors for the Magpul Pmags for awhile and as more people experiment, more discoveries are made. The general consensus is that foliage green and flat dark earth are the best colors to start with. 
Using tape during the process allows for a camouflage effect.
The dye used is the famous RIT brand for clothing. 
Mix the dye in near boiling water, drop in the clean and de-greased parts and wait for the dye to soak in, the longer you wait the darker the part gets (to a point).

10. Paracord Sling and/or Bandoleer
While I have never worked with paracord, I know some people that have. These are super strong and can be taken apart if you need some heavy duty string in an emergency.

 See instructions here

The instructions for the bandoleer seem easy and the cord can be re-purposed once you run out of ammo.
See the instructions here

11. Home-made Reactive Target
Simple cardboard cutouts with balloons filled with red liquid (ketchup, cherry Jello, Hot Sauce, red paint..). Maybe even tape some of those ketchup packets from the fast food restaurants in key locations?

Use your imagination on this one.

photo courtesy of BB Bastard

12. Stock Refinishing
There are plenty of ways to refinish a rifle stock. Your MO will be determined by the type of wood and the type of finish you are looking for.
I recently switched to Minwax Antique Oil Finish for my rifle stocks. 

By following the instructions found on The High Road Forum, you can get a very nice satin finish, like the one below

13. Cleaning up a muzzle crown
The crown of your gun's muzzle is important for accuracy. If something has dented the bore or left a bur, the bullets flight path could be affected.
Using a drill motor, a ball grinder, a brass screw and some valve lapping compound you can remove imperfections and return the accuracy to your gun.
 photo courtesy of 272pair
 photo courtesy of the akfiles forum

14. Fixing a stripped screw hole
This comes up often, especially in butt stocks. I had to make this kind of repair using a wood dowel on my Savage model 110 when installing a new recoil pad

15. Adding gripping surface
Using Devcon Plastic Steel Putty to add a textured gripping surface is a cheap and easy mod. 


The pictures above were found freely on the world wide web and are used under the guidelines of Fair Use, per Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Where possible the source has been credited.
If you own the copyright to any of these images and wish them to be credited or removed, please contact me immediately.

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