Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lil' Buckeroo Project part 1

If you missed the Featured Gun post on this model, see it here.

This will be a youth trainer rifle and as such I plan on modifying it to fit a young shooter. The barrel will be shortened to 16.5" and the stock cut back to achieve a 11.5" length of pull (including the butt plate/pad). I will also remove some material from the forend.

like a old school version of the Chipmunk rifle:

I'll name this project the "Lil' Buckeroo".

Here are a couple of pictures of the gun before we started:

The bluing on the receiver was in bad shape.

I paid $20 for the gun, it was missing the trigger guard, rear sight elevator and the bolt. The butt plate was also broken (see above).

When searching for a butt plate I found this one at a gun show, it is from a Marlin or JC Higgins rifle (you can see the pattern/style is the same), but was too large for this stock, probably for a larger rifle or shotgun.

I also noticed that either the lower hole in the stock or the one in the butt plate was not drilled in the center, 

then I noticed that the butt plate that came on this rifle had been ground to fit, so maybe Marlin had a universal butt plate and fitted them to each gun? 

None of this matters as I will be cutting the stock down and drilling new holes, it was just an interesting discovery.

Besides the assessment of the gun, the first step is to find the missing pieces.

I bought some parts on ebay, unfortunately the trigger guard did not survive the shipping and arrived in two pieces.
I was however able to find another stock, a partial receiver (cut in half) and a bolt from the gun show.

It turns out the bolt I purchased was for a model 122 and will not work on this gun. I ended up selling it for more than I paid for it (+$15).

Also the stock I bought appears to be a blond walnut, take a look at this close up of the grain...

So I went searching and found this bolt for $67.50, I didn't want to spend that much, but since I am only in the gun for $20, I figured I was still doing OK

Then I found another one at the gun show for $35, the bolt handle is rounded instead of square, not sure if this is a manufacturing anomaly, a difference between the Marlin and store branded guns or a different year of production, either way the bolt is otherwise identical.

I now have two bolts to chose from. I will clean them both up, rebluing and polishing the parts, then decide which one I will keep and which one I will sell.

The rear sight elevator was also MIA, so I picked up this one from the folks at Gun Parts Corp.

This rifle will be for training young shooters, so I want to make it a bit easier for the kids to shoot. The barrel is too long and the LOP is more fitting for an adult, here are my plans for this rifle:
  • Cut Barrel down to 16.5", re-crown the muzzle and cut new front sight dovetail
  • Cut the front of the stock down to save on weight and make it more manageable
  • Cut the butt stock down to 11.5" +/- length of pull
  • install new butt plate/recoil pad
  • refinish the wood
  • re-blue the steel
  • possibly install a .22 rimfire scope
The project will be similar to what Larry Potterfield did for his grandchildren:

We'll begin with the wood, as that usually takes longer

When shortening the front of the stock, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to mimic the original fore tip or do something different. I found this picture of a newer version of this gun....

before cutting I wanted to compare the model 41 (101) stock with that of another vintage Marlin .22 in my collection, a model 81DL. You can see the model 41s stock is a bit longer.

Time to bite the bullet and cut the wood....we had a break in the rain, so I set up the compound miter saw and cut both ends. I squared up the comb so our butt plate will be at 90 degrees to the comb/bore axis.
I normally tape off the area to be cut, to prevent chipping. You may notice the blade on the far left of the picture below. I replaced my normal carbide rough blade with a fine cut one. You can see it provides a pretty clean cut.

Besides I will need to fit the butt pad, so I will be sanding the stock.

I also cut a couple of inches off the forend.

 Stay tuned for part 2