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dougk 08-23-2007 08:34 AM

Single Shot Rifle Picures
Please feel free to post your pictures here.

IOWA DON 08-24-2007 11:21 AM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
I may be boring folks, but I finally found out how to post photos, and this is king of a repeat. My Thompson-Center TCR's with different barrels make a lot of different combinations, but these are the nicest combinatoins I have. On top is a light .17 Hornet barrel on a set-trigger TCR '83 with a custom stock by Virgin Valley. On the bottom is a .22 Copper Centerfire Magnum barrel on a TCR '87. I paid a little extra to get better wood on the buttstock and the "heavy" barrel is from the old TCR custom shop which burned down. The .22 CCM cartridge is basically a centerfire .22 magnum. It will shoot 40-grain bullets at 2,200 fps.

IOWA DON 08-24-2007 12:18 PM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
The one on top is a Stevens Favorite. It is not really a rifle, but a shotgun. See the second photo. The label on the barrel is not ".22 SHORT", but instead ".22 SHOT". It has a smoothbore, birdshot barrel. It's a long way from NIB condition but will not be refinished. The gun on the bottom is a Hopkins & Allen Model 922. I dont know if it's for Short, Long, or Long Rifle. The action seems to be very smooth and tight, and the trigger pull is very good. The bore is terrible. I may just have the bore relinned. However, I think the little falling-block action has a lot of potential. See the bottom photo. I was thinking of a new stock with a cheekpiece and fancy wood, and a new heavier half-round, half-octagonal barrel. The action could be either color-case-hardened, or bead-blsted and nickel plated. I think the two screw holes on top the tang may be for a peep sight, which would be good, or maybe one of the old fashioned long-tube scopes would be better. As for the barrel I was thinking of trying to find an old damascus rifle barrel of fairly large diameter, putting a .22 calber liner in it, and then turn it down and make it half-octagonal. That way the interior could be stainless and the exterior show the damascus figure.

dougk 08-25-2007 08:53 AM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
Iowa Don,
glad you learned how to post the pics. You gave some great guns. Thanks for sharing...


gitano 08-27-2007 01:01 PM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
I've been working on an 1878 Martini-Enfield for a while now, and it is all but completed. Maybe folks here would be interested in hearing about the process I have gone through to get it back from being a "modern bench gun" to something closer to it's original concept. It's NOT in its original configuration, but rather back to a chambering and look that is consistent with its original concept. I'll start with "the story" of the rifle, and close with the process of making the custom cartridges. Hope you don't mind "stories", 'cause this will be one. I happen to think the art of story-telling is being lost, and while I may not be a great story teller (or even a good one for that matter), I intend to fight the trend to make everything a "sound bite". So, be forewarned, this won't be "brief".

I got the 1878 Martini-Enfield a little over 3 years ago. It arrived chambered in .22/.30-30 and dressed out in the most garrish of stocks. Having the .17 Remington, I have little practical use for CF .22s. I have nothing against them, I just don't need one, and my attention was headed in the opposite direction of "small".

I was looking for something in a "big" caliber, and Jay suggested a .50-90 "look-alike", the .50-.348 Winchester. There was a lot to be said for the .50-90, and I decided that was what I wanted this rifle chambered in. However, getting a new barrel put on the old 1878 receiver wasn't something I was particularly comfortable having done. There are no gunsmiths in Alaska that I know that I would trust to perform the work. Plus I'd have to find someone to match the bluing on the receiver. So I muddled around for a bit waiting for something to 'break'. Then, Ol' John (AKA LLANO JOHN) told me about a fellow in Arizona that rebored barrels, and had in fact rebored a barrel for him. (First-hand knowledge is best in my opinion.) For $285 I could get the Martini rebored to .510, and chambered in .50-90, (AKA .50-.348 Win, and .50 Alaskan). I sent it off for reboring. When it came back, I was very pleased with the results. I started making bullets and working up loads.

Hunterbug had invited me down to Colorado to hunt elk with him, and as it turned out, we were drawn for cow elk. The .50 came back from Cut Rifle with little time to work up loads and get it restocked, but I did my best. I didn't have the confidence in the loads that I would have liked to have had, and the stock was the best I could throw together in a couple of days.


Still, it went elk hunting. Unfortunately, but not too big a deal, I wasn't able to blood the rifle.

When I returned home from the elk hunt, I set to work getting the rifle into the shape I wanted it in. Since my primary purpose for the rifle was to shoot a bison, and since it was a rifle originally made in 1878, I decided that it should look the part. In other words, it should have a "traditional" look. I wanted an express rear sight, banded front sight, and a sort of traditional stock. New England Custom Guns (via Midway USA) supplied the sights. A "traditional" stock would be more difficult to come by. Jay, again, tells me that he has a pattern for the butt of a Martini. (Whooda thunk it.) I had a good candidate (nice straight grain, aged 20+ years), piece of walnut. We decided to get them together.

A couple of months ago, I took my family to Idaho for a little vacation, and on our way there, we visited Jay and his wife. Besides having a grand time, Jay and I cut butt and forearm blanks from my board, and drilled the through-hole in the butt for the bolt. None of which would have been possible without the assistance of Jay. Once back home, I started shaping the blanks into their final form. I finished that last night.

What you see below is the almost finished product. The front ramp has to be blued and installed in its final position, one more mounting hole needs to be drilled and tapped for the rear ramp, and the rear sight needs to be regulated. (It has 3 folding and one standing blade, and I intend to regulate them at 50, 100, 200, and 300 yds.)

This is the first rifle stock I have made from "beginning to end". I have finished many stocks that I got from stock-makers with partial inletting and a "starter channel" for the barrel. I've also re-shaped and refinished several stocks for friends and aquaintances. In this case though, I started with a chunk of wood.

I'm partial to "animal parts", and I wanted to incorporate animal parts in the finished product if I could maintain a "respectable" and "traditional" look. I decided to put a dall sheep horn cap on the forearm. Also, I wanted to put a skeletonized steel buttplate on, but the through-hole for the bolt excluded all of the few of them commercially offered. So... I am making my own. In the interim, I have installed the recoil pad you see. Ultimately, I will install a sheep horn skeletonized buttplate.

The forearm of the origninal .22/.30-30 was jerked from the receiver by the recoil of the .50, so I had to come up with another way to attach the forearm to the receiver. Again Jay has the answer. Use "staples" and pin it to the barrel as is done with muzzle loaders. (Again, whooda thought Jay would come up with a solution from the muzzle loading world? ) So, the two pins you see in the forearm are through pins that pass through staples attached to the bottom of the barrel.

Finally, of course I wanted the stock to fit me perfectly, and it does. As I throw the rifle to my shoulder, the sights align perfectly,.. and I do mean perfectly. Elk and bison (and maybe even a moose) beware!

Here's the whole rifle:

Here's the forearm:

Here's the butt:


gitano 08-27-2007 01:32 PM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
Here's a blow-by-blow of making the cartridges for the .50 Alaskan

Below you will find the steps I use to make my .50 Alaskan ammo starting with .348 Winchester cases and cast bullets. The processes, in general, are applicable to any cartridge, be it wildcat or obsolete, that one would like to make starting with another case.

The first photo is of the .348 Win case marked to length, trimmed to length, and the resulting .50 case.

The second photo shows trimming the .348 case to length. I removed the shaft from a manual case trimmer and chucked it in a 1/2" power auger. There's lotsa metal to remove to get the case to proper length.

The next step is to remove the burrs - both inside and out - caused by trimming the case.

Since this case is going to get blown out essentially straight, the shoulder and neck get annealed first to soften them up as much as possible. I hold the case between my index finger and thumb while I am annealing. When the case gets too hot to hold onto, I drop it. I used to drop it in water, but it seems to me that that might just harden it a bit. I've been told by an internet metalurgist that brass does not "temper quench" like iron/steel does. Still... I'm certain it doesn't harden with air cooling.

Here's what the annealed case looks like.

After I have annealed all of the cases I intend to fireform, I charge them. You can see the components in this image. They are: About 15 grains of Bullseye; enough Cream of Wheat to fill the case about half way up the neck; and some paper towel for wadding. I put a piece of paper towel between the powder and the CoW just so there is no chance for the powder to get mixed with the CoW. Once the CoW is added, I put a wad of paper towel on top and tamp it down just so the CoW doesn't pour out the case mouth.

Here are the powder-charged cases:

Here are the CoW-charged cases:

And here are the cases ready to be fire-formed:

Here are the cases immediately after fire-forming. So far I've done this with 100 cases. Only one has split, and that one wasn't annealed. I fire-formed 40 cases before I started annealing, and only one split. Still, annealing is too easy to do, and even if it only saves 1% of the cases, it's still worth it to me.

After fire-forming, the mouths are very uneven and need to be filed square. I tried to use the case trimmer, Brithunter even made a custom pilot for me. However, the cutter is just too small for the fire-formed case mouth. Filing isn't too tedious - at least not to me.

After squaring the mouth, I remove the burr inside and out and chamfer.

Next, I like to polish the cases. On one hand it's purely cosmetic. On the other hand, I can see any flaws better on a polished case. I polish the cases by using something wooden lathe turners will be familiar with - a jam chuck. I make the jam chick from an 8mm Mag case. The .50 case gets jammed on the 8mm case and spun. I use an artificial abrassive pad that is fine enough that it just polishes. Here is the polishing process in pictures:

Now that the case is made, it's time to make the bullets. I'll spare you the casting process, and start out with the cast bullets in hand. These are bullets dropped from Lee's 450'grain mould. With my alloy, they turn out 439 grains.

Notice that they have no gas-check heel. Try as I might, I have been unable to get un-gas-checked bullets to leave no lead in my bore. Put another way, bullets without gas-checks SERIOUSLY lead the bore of my rifle. I'm sure some casting guru could make an alloy that wouldn't lead, but I am simply not capable of doing so. So, I need to put a gas check heel on these bullets. Another GBO fellow came to my aid. Drinksgin made a little lathe for cutting gas checks in non-gas-checked bullets. (Don is quite a 'fixer'.)

Here is the lathe in operation:

Here is the result with gas check along side:

And here is the finished product.

Now it's time to lube the bullet. Again a THL member comes to my aid. Jay Edwards gave me some of his special lube to use in addition to the gas check, to try and alleviate the leading problem. Here are the GC'd bullets sitting in the melted lube.

Here they have cooled, and along side is a removal die I made by fire-forming a 7.62x54R case to the .50 Alaskan chamber. (It didn't blow the head out enough to use as a suitable case for making .50 Alaskan cases.)

The next two pictures show the die in place and the bullet in the die after removal from the lube.

These are the lubed bullets.

And here is a loaded .50 Alaskan cartridge.

So... if you wanna make your own wildcat, be prepared to spend a little time in 'other' activities. There are easier ways however. You could simply buy the .50 Alaskan cases at ~$1.00 apiece, and load them with Barnes' 450-grain .510 Original bullets. Or... you could buy already-loaded-ammo at $5.00 a piece. ;)

As for me, I enjoy makin' 'em from scratch.


dougk 08-27-2007 05:53 PM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
thanks for sharing this wealth of information and the great pictures...

A-ALLOY 08-31-2007 03:25 AM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
Very very nice rifle, very nice story, thank you for the detailed reloading info.

gitano 08-31-2007 02:24 PM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
Thanks, to both of you.


Woodbutcher 08-31-2007 06:04 PM

Re: Single Shot Rifle Picures
That little lathe is the greatest!!! Great pix! Very nicely done! Just for my own info, why not a 50/70? Is it easier to make or get the brass? Does the 50 Alaskan work better with smokeless? Thanks, Woodbutcher

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