Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Year in Review

Another year come and gone, it was our biggest yet. We are approaching our 5th anniversary and our 500th blog post.

Anyway here is a look back at 2017


Thanks to a snowflake reporter and a video from Twang'nBang we were inspired to try out another form of indoor practice ammo
I refinish my neighbors Ruger Single Six
Our Gun Porn segment looks at nickel plated and stainless guns that feature pearl stocks
Just in time for the re-introduction of the Colt Cobra, we look at the Colt revolvers named after snakes.
Our fifth installment of Interesting Firearm Photos including Kalashnikov Vodka, the Assassination Attempt on President Reagan and a mail box disguised as a giant S&W revolver.
Our Guest Post involves bringing an old forgotten cartridge back to life. 
The third installment of our theme guns includes DeadPool, The Miami Dolphins and Wile E. Coyote
We investigate the possibility of saving a gun that suffered a catastrophic event


A for sale ad in a local gun forum inspired me to search for other horrible gun ads, hilarity ensues.
We refinish a former law enforcement side arm
A new Installment, gun art, which is art that is inspired by guns or uses guns as the medium 
Part two of our refinishing effort, we remove some graffiti from the side plate
In part 6 of this series we gaze upon the prototype GI Joe action figure, possibly the worst gun advertisement ever and a motorcycle seat built for a true cowboy
We complete the refinishing of the Dan Wesson revolver 
Our Featured Gun is a bolt action shotgun made by High Standard for Sears & Roebuck
This month's gun porn is all about shotguns


We continue the 10/22 madness again this year, first off is a look at all the factory models available on the 10/22 platform
We introduce another 10/22 project, the Lightweight Tactical Rifle
This month's Interesting Firearm Photos include an AK-47 made from a shovel, Ruger Vaquero wax molds and Dirty Harry's 44 Magnum
More upgrades for your 10/22 rifle
The true story of a gun that equalized a force equation
Tactical (or tacticool) 10/22 rifles is the soup de jour
Our featured gun this month is another High Standard made gun, the Sentinel revolver
Just when you thought we had run out of interesting facts about the 10/22
A compendium of home made or modified stocks for the 10/22 and Charger


We started something new this month, we dedicated all or most of the posts to one particular type of firearm, this month it is Lever Action Rifles.

We refinish a Western Field lever action rifle, not once, not twice, but three times
The Interesting Firearm Photos this month include the Million Dollar Luger, a very large Kaboom and a Texas farewell
We finally get back on track with the Marlin 1893 project
Lever gun porn
Part two of the Western Field project
Our Feature Gun is a Marlin 39A tribute to the NRA
Part two of our 10/22 LTR project, we start cutting the stock
Our guest post is a sporterized Rolling Block that was originally built in Sweden


The Featured Gun is one you could build at home...
We follow up with a promise to venture into making a gun from scratch, we start with a tribute to the Philippine Guerilla Gun
 Number nine in the series features some Civil War mortars, a handgun disguised as a lighter and WWII Snipers of the Soviet Union
Part three of the Guerrilla gun build (we got out of order..)
Part two of the Guerrilla gun build, we re-purpose a broken air gun stock
In part four we finish the gun and test fire it
Part 3 of the LTR project, we build a butt stock from aluminum


Part 3 of the Marlin 1893 project, we finish fitting the crescent butt plate to the stock
A chance find at a gun show turns into a Featured Gun post and a new project
My Father and I build a pistol from a kit
In this month's Interesting Firearm Photos we have  a "last ditch" Arisaka, testing of a bullet proof vest and the Battle of Inchon
Part 4 of the LTR project includes cutting and recrowning the barrel
Ever found a gun on the street? I posed the question and got numerous responses....
Our friend Ironworker build another knife, forged from a piece of steel cable
Gun Porn this month is all about semi-auto pistols
In Gun Art #2 we have some things that cannot be easily explained with words


July is dedicated to the gun of the Cowboy, the single action revolver, but first we have some guns built on the Old Glory theme.

In part 4 of the Marlin 1893 project we build a new magazine tube
Our Interesting Firearm Photos this month include an experimental M1903 bullpup, the ten millionth Remington 870 shotgun and a letter from Bill Ruger to his Patent Attorney
We attempt to find the problem with a Hawes Revolver
I display my collection of Cowboy Guns
We examine the parts of the Ruger Blackhawk and how they function
We celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy by listing every Cowboy related post we have done, and there have been many.
We perform a few cheap tricks on some Vaquero/Blackhawk parts
Our Featured Gun is one of my favorites, the Vaquero!
Gold Plated, Engraved or just plain beautiful.....


Last month was single action revolvers, this month it is double action revolvers, but first an update on our LTR project:
We bring sexy back with a S&W 586 revolver
Our 12th installment of Interesting Firearm Photos include some movie props, a young Whitefeather and cut-away Glock
Part 2 of the S&W 586 refinish
Our Featured Gun is a sexy looking revolver that was all form, no function
We finish up the S&W 586 with some very satisfying results
A Double Action revolver for every style
We make another attempt at a pistol display box, this time for a small frame revolver
The media and the non-gun public do not understand us or our hobby....


With hunting season within view, we dedicate September to bolt action rifles, starting with a Featured Gun post that started with a $20 yard sale buy

We take a $20 yard sale gun and turn it into a youth trainer
Part two, we shorten and restore the stock
Bolt Action rifles are perhaps second only to shotguns when it comes to engraved firearms, we have some outstanding examples in this month's gun porn
The Lil' Buckeroo gets his barrel shortened and recrowned
This month's Interesting Photos includes proof of gun violins, the Great Australian Gun Theft and a Dirty Harry action figure
In part 4 of the Lil' Buckeroo project we restore not one, but two bolts...
We finish up the Lil' Buckeroo with a high polish bluing job and a scope
In our third installment of Gun Art we visit Andy Warhol, a chair made from AK-47s and some interesting graffiti 
Our last post on bolt action rifles we install Remington 700 sights on a cut down Mosin-Nagant


Part 5 of the Marlin 1893 project, we finally get to work on the receiver and fitting the wood to the metal
Our Featured Gun is an inexpensive break open .410 gauge shotgun designed for killing snakes
In part 6 of the LTR project we perform an action job, blue the bolt and begin building the side plates
Zombie Guns, our third installment, just in time for Halloween
We finally finish the LTR project
This months interesting photos include a custom .25ACP Ruger Blackhawk, a gun safe for Goliath and the .30 Badger cartridge
Our guest post this month shows how to powder coat lead bullets for safe indoor shooting.
We build a display gun case that looks like a small coffin
Our Halloween Gun Porn this year includes some interesting guns such as the Devil's Shotgun, The Monster Legacy Colt revolver and the personal monster hunting kit of Dr. Van Helsing.


This is the month of Veteran's Day, so we dedicated it to the 1911 pistol. Up first is an overview of some of the more unique versions of this iconic weapon.

 A refinishing project of a "Black Army" Colt M1911, a gun that could have seen service in both wars
 Some 1911 gun porn, of which there is no shortage
 We wind up the War Horse refinishing project
 The options for 1911 grip panels is nearly limitless, from blood-wood to ebony, from mammoth to meteorites....
 A guest post, a fellow student of gunsmithing shares with us the joys and pains of building a custom 1911
 We look at the history of the Detonics company and their Combat Master 1911 variant
 After polishing my Ruger SR1911, I found a way to bring back the engravings on the slide
 We finish the month with more interesting firearm photos


We provide some gift giving ideas for Christmas
Part six of the restoration of a Marlin model 1893

We announce the contenders for the 1st Annual Golden Poop Awards
We display just some of the works from Uncle Pimpy's Axe Palace
Our Feature Gun story is instead a cartridge, a wildcat cartridge
Part five of our continuing coverage of themed guns


So what do we have coming up? More projects including:

  • A Winchester model 250 that "survived" a house fire
  • Restoring a Remington model 512 Sportmaster
  • Rebluing Remington model 511 Scoremaster (unrelated projects)
  • A complete make-over/restoration of a Savage/Stevens model 325C bolt action 30-30
  • Refinishing a Western Field model 45 (Savage) bolt action .22 
  • We will revisit the 10/22 in March again with more projects and custom parts/options
  • A quick reblue of a Glenfield model 75
  • We will give the Marlin model 60 some attention, including a revamp of my Night Prowler project
  • We will start on a Swedish Rolling Block Sporter project
  • A Ruger Standard pistol from 1966 will get a full restoration
  • An FN model 1906 (vest pocket) pistol will get a new blued finish and a set of walnut stocks
  • A chromed Colt 1908 (vest pocket) will get an inspection and clean up
  • We will finally finish the Marlin 1893 project
  • We have a couple of knife projects on deck, including the restoration of a US Navy Mk1 knife.
  • If I actually get a break, we will start on our homemade break-open 12 gauge shotgun project and building a knife filing jig.
As always we will continue to have posts by guest authors with some new and interesting projects.

We will continue with our Featured Gun articles

and in May we will celebrate our 5th anniversary by looking back at all the guns we have restored or refinished.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Theme Guns V

Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers.....stay warm, safe and be sure to give thanks.

Another batch of custom painted or engraved guns. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of them.

Sports Team themed guns continue to pop up here and there

More Tiffany & Company pistols

Some are not content with the simple blue and silver


Grateful Dead Tribute??

Some more Nintendo Zapper guns

Here is an elaborately engraved Egyptian themed Beretta

Another Van Halen inspired paint job, note the guitar strap for a sling

Special Thanks to : Cerakote Coatings

The pictures above were found freely on the world wide web and are used for entertainment and educational purposes 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.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Story of the .263 Sabre

The quest for the perfect hunting cartridges began around the turn of the last century. 
Thanks to the bottle necked metallic cartridge and smokeless powder wildcatters, as they were nicknamed, were getting results from their rifles, the likes of which had not been seen before.
While everyone has a different idea of what the perfect hunting cartridge might be. Some wanted faster and flatter shooting, others wanted a large bullet with lots of weight. Often it was the type of animal being hunted and the terrain in which the hunt took place that dictated what the "perfect" cartridge might be.
For the most part American hunters in the mid-western and western states prefer a mid sized bullet that was fast moving and had reduced bullet drop.

I won't go into detail on the "perfect" cartridge as that debate is as old as the metallic cartridge itself.

We could say the story of the .263 Sabre started with Charles Newton who, in 1912, modified the .30-06 Springfield cartridge by shortening it and necking it down from .308" to .257", creating the .25-'06 (later legitimized by Remington). A year later hid did the same thing with a 6.5 mm bullet, this time necking the Springfield cartridge down .001" smaller to .264 to accept a bullet from a 6.5mm Swede cartridge.
Newton also changed the neck angle and body taper. The neck was set at 23 degrees and the OAL is shorter that the 30-06.

It was inappropriately named the the .256/06 or simply the .256 Newton. Why he named it the .256 I don't know, the bullet diameter is actually .264", it isn't even 6.5mm, actually a 6.71mm, see my write up on cartridge naming conventions here.

Other wildcatters had done similar work by simply resizing 30-06 brass to .264 and using surplus Swedish military bullets, creating what was universally known as a 6.5-06. The rest of the case was left intact.

The 6.5mm-06 was finally accepted by SAMMI as the 6.5mm-06 A Square in 1997. The shoulder featured the same (or nearly identical) 17 degree angle as its parent case, the 30-06 Springfield.

The 6.5mm bullet was not new, not even in 1913. It had been known in Europe for years, The 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser and the 6.5x52mm Carcano were both developed in 1891.

While Europeans had been using the 6.5mm military inspired rounds for hunting and had expounded on its capabilities, acceptance in North America took a bit longer.

The 6.5mm cartridges are characterized by their long for diameter bullets that extend well into the throat. This gives them the weight necessary to carry their mass farther without increasing their sectional width.

the 6.5x55mm Swedish

Jerry Shannon, a well known gunsmith in the Seattle area decided to play around with the 6mm-06 cartridge, changing the shoulder angles and bullet depth, looking to squeeze more velocity while maintaining the pressure levels.
What he created was the .263 Sabre.

The .263 Sabre differed from the 6mm-'06 and the .256 Newton in the shoulder. The Sabre had a sharp 35 degree shoulder where as the 6mm/'06 had a 17 degree shoulder angle and the .256 Newton had a 23 degree angle.

The 35 degree shoulder was probably a compromise between the 30-'06 which used a 17.5 degree and the Ackley Improved design which used a 40 degree shoulder. It said to provide a more positive head space adjustment over Ackley's design 

Shannon named his new cartridge after the F-86 Sabre Jets that were stationed at McChord Air Force Base, near his home in Spanaway, Washington (near Tacoma). He said he would often see them flying overhead and when he created a cartridge that flew flat and true, he thought of the F-86.

Loading data for the more popular 6.5-06 can be used, but as always proceed with caution, start on the lower end and work your way up. Note the data published below was found online and I cannot vouch for its accuracy, use anything you find here or elsewhere at your own risk.

Introduced: 1913
Originator: Charles Newton
Other Names: 256/06, .256 Newton
Dimensional Data:
Bullet: .264
Neck: .300
Shoulder: .439
Base: .471
Rim: .473
Case Length: 2.50
Ctge Length: 2.80
Twist: 9-10
Loading data:
Bullet:     Pwdr:    Gn:    MV:    ME:
85gn       H-414    55     3610   2461
100gn     H4831   62     3445   2625
120gn     H4831   58     3175   2680
140gn     H4831   56     3000   2800
165gn     H4831   54     2825   2922

Many have cautioned not to mix the 6.5-06 and the .256 Newton cartridges as the shoulder angle differences can cause head space issues. However I read of lots of people (including the owner of the rifle below) who reload using 6.5-'06 loading dies, then they fire form the cases to the chamber. Use extreme caution when doing this.

At the time of this writing you could purchase dies for the .263 Sabre from Midway USA, sadly the items were pulled, no doubt due to lack of sales. Your best bet would be to contact RCBS directly (I luckily thought to get a screen shot of the dies before Midway pulled them)

If you do intend to resize .30-'06 brass to a .256 Sabre, it is best to use Winchester-Western brass (WW head stamp). Jerry gave these instructions to his customers and several people have confirmed that WW brass works best. the reason for this is unknown to me, but it would seem that the necks are easier to size on the WW brass.

The gun in question here is owned by a friend. He bought it at a gun show in Puyallup WA, not far from Spanaway, where the gun was built. 

The stock is a custom laminate using black walnut and maple, the bull barrel is 26" long and the action is a stretched M1903A3. Made longer to accept the 140 grain bullets, that when loaded in the .263 Sabre case exceed the length of the normal .30-'06 action.

The barrel has a rebated crown


Gun Digest 
American Rifleman 
Chuck Hawks 
Reloaders Nest 
Ballistic Studies

Saturday, December 16, 2017

And Now for Something Completely Different

Every once in a while I like to do something different here on the blog......while cruising the interwebs I came across some interesting pictures which led me to Uncle Pimpy's Axe Palace. 

Jesse Reed of Springfield Oregon has been turning old axes, hammers, tools, and other items into works of art. Re-purposing old engine and transmission parts, adding custom handles and making tools and weapons.

Here are some of the axes and hammers he has rebuilt

 He also makes ice picks, using a variety of materials including old revolver barrels.

Uncle Pimpy wouldn't be satisfied with just tools, he also makes some wicked looking weapons.....excuse me, coconut smashers

You can find Uncle Pimpy on facebook here and on ebay here (if the link doesn't work, search for member: "bnbparents")