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Last Updated on :
August 16, 2015

Gunsmith Tips and Tricks

  1. Emery Boards - Yea the little disposable thing you wife does her nails with is excellent for sanding, filing or smoothing a bured gun part. There also flexible and can be held to the contour of the part your working on.
  2. Electrical Tape - Does your GPC [ Numrich ] low swing safety rattle? Try wrapping some electrical tape around the shaft before installing it. TEST for function before chambering a live round.
  3. Screwdrivers - Always use a set of Gunsmithing Screwdrivers when working on your gun. The Stanley's , Craftsman and etc.. you have should never be used on a gun! They have a tapered blade not designed for guns. Gunsmith screwdrivers are hollow ground, not tapered and are designed to fit screws used in guns.
  4. Masking Tape - When knocking a pin in or out of a firearm stick a couple of layers of masking tape over the hole and trim just the small hole portion out so the pin can travel through the hole. This will save the finish of your metal when your punch or hammer slips.
  5. Electric bore cleaner - All you need is an electrode, a power supply and some wires and alligator clips. The electrode can be a coat hanger (make sure it is free of any varnish) or a store-bought thin wire rod. Use some heat-shrink tubing at the bottom of the rod and along its length in various places to prevent the rod from contacting the gun at any point in the barrel. (A short Circuit) The power supply consists of 2 `C' cell batteries simply duct-taped together. There is no need for any fancy battery holders. Use only the 2 `C' cells! There is no need for more power than this! The Positive power supply lead is attached to a good contact point of the rifle such as the rear sight. The Negative lead goes to the top of the electrode. Stand the gun upright and lock it into this position. Plug the chamber end of the gun...This can be done by using a fired shell wrapped with some Teflon tape or an automotive tire Valve stem trimmed to fit snugly. Tie a rag around the muzzle end of the barrel to prevent spills!..you can also wrap a layer of duct-tape around the muzzle so you can overfill the bore slightly without it leaking. The barrel is filled with ``Household Ammonia"...You will find this at the grocery store or wherever your wife buys household cleaners...The strength is usually around 10 - 20%, you do not any stronger than that. Don't dilute it, add any other agents to it or substitute anything else for it. Once the bore is filled with ammonia, connect the wires and let the device do its job for ONE HOUR. Keep a close eye on it as the ammonia will foam quite a bit making top-ups needed quite often. After the hour, the gun will need to be thoroughly cleaned with standard bore cleaners and oiled to prevent rust. So what does this thing do and when do you use it? This device is using the actions as a chrome plating shop does but in reverse. The ammonia lifts copper and the electrode attracts it like a magnet. You will see the electrode is quite a mess at the end of an hours use. Just wipe off the deposits though and its ready to use again. This thing is not meant to be used as a regular cleaning tool...There is no need for it after a days shooting inmost cases. It is meant to be used on guns that have not had a proper cleaning in many years...The ones that you can run a patch up and down all day and they still come out dirty! Follow the design and instructions exactly, Use it for what it is and it will save you hours of cleaning time. Try and overpower it, forget that you left it on, or misuse it it any way and you might end up with damage...I have yet to hear of any damage from this when used as I state here.
  6. Polishing Receiver Bolt-Lug Raceways
    A quick and easy way to do this chore is to use an automotive engine cylinder hone. The best one to use is the fine finishing hone available at most auto supply stores. Drill a 1/8" hole near the end of a 14" long 3/8" steel rod. Bend the drilled end of the rod about 30 deg perpendicular to the drilled hole. Attach the hone with a cotter pin and glue a file handle on the other end. Slide the hone in ant out of the receiver and use plenty of mineral spirits to keep the hone from being loaded.
  7. Removing an Extremely Tight Barrels
    Some barrels such as P14 and P17 Enfields seem to have been screwed on by gorillas. I remove these by first cutting a 3/16 deep groove all the way around the barrel 1/16" from where it butts to the receiver. This groove relieves the stress on the threads so the barrel can be easily turned. If no lathe is available a hack saw can be used. Most barrels have enough shoulder left so that they can be re-used. This is an old idea but there seems to be many home gunsmiths that have never heard of it.
  8. Cast Bullet Lubricant
    Melt one pound of canning paraffin wax and mix in two table spoons of STP oil treatment. Let cool and lube away.
  9. Small Springs
    Take an automotive tire valve stem and clip the end of the internal valve pin and a handy little spring will fall out.
  10. Metal Stippling Pattern
    Tape a strip of engineering paper (1/16" grid) from the trigger guard to the magazine opening of 1911 pistol grip frame. Layout uniform rows of 'dragon teeth' by punching through the paper at each grid intersection.
  11. Stock Inletting Tools
    Small chisels, gouges and scrappers can be made from automotive valve springs. Heat with a propane torch to unwind the spring and cut it up in 5" lenghts. Heat the end and forge to what ever shape you want. Finnish shaping with a fine file. Harden the cutting edge by heating it red hot and quenching in water. Complete the tool by attaching a file handle.
  12. Checkering Layout
    Draw your checkering border design with a grease pencil. Take a glass cutter and grind off the notches near the carbide cutter. Trace the grease pencil design with the glass cutter. The checkering or veining tool will now follow the shallow groove made by the glass cutter.
  13. Pin Chuck
    The best pin chuck I have is a cheap 1/4" drill chuck and bolt attached to a file handle.
  14. Slow Rust Blueing
    The old slow rust blue process. It has several advantages over both hot caustic and cold blue processes. It does not require an expensive investment in tanks, burners, and chemicals. Only two tanks are needed. The process does not require a separate building because of fumes. Small parts can be blued on a kitchen stove. Slow rust blueing only requires boiling water after degreasing so there is no danger of being burned by 350 deg. caustic. Slow rust blueing is the best method for the home gunsmith because it is safer and requires the least in equipment. Slow rust blue is also more durable the hot caustic or cold blue. The only disadvantage is it takes more time and is more labor intensive. Old double shotguns with soft soldered barrels should only be slow rust blued because the hot caustic process will dissolve the solder. Slow rust blue done right is the most beautiful gun finish available. Take a good look at a fine Parker, Fox, or L.C. Smith shot gun or check the gun finish at the following links: www.mckaybrown.com
    www.hollandandholland.com www.johnrigbyandco.com www.williamlarkinmoore.com
    A complete description of the slow rust blue process can be found in the following titles: Gunsmithing by Roy Dunlap
    NRA Gunsmithing Guide by the National Rifle Association
    Firearms Blueing and Browning by R.H. Angier Gunsmith Tips and Projects by Wolf Publishing

    Everything you need including these titles can be ordered from a gunsmith supply house. You can mix your own bluing solution but I find it more convenient to use Pinkington Classic American Rust Blue, also available from Brownells. Making metal change color is easy. The real work and skill is in polishing and preparing the metal for blueing. All it really takes is dedication and patience. Heres a link to the process/ instructions for rust blueing 'Dwayne V. '
  15. Don't Crush Fit
    The best tip I have for Mausers is not to crush fit the barrel. Why go to the trouble of truing the receiver if you're going to throw the barrel out of alignment by crush fitting it. I fit Mauser barrels the same as 700's. Face the receiver (using a mandrel), true up the threads, lap the locking lugs and bolt face, then leave the barrel shank .008" short so it doesn't contact the inside of the receiver. This way there is no chance of the inside shoulder of the receiver pushing the barrel out of alignment. The best example I can give is a Mauser I built some time ago. Couldn't get it to group under 1.5". I did everything I could think of then decided to rebarrel it. Before fitting a new barrel I decided to get rid of the crush fit on the existing barrel as a last resort. Group sizes were cut in half, and better. I haven't crush fit a barrel since. ' Mike '
  16. Bullet Seating Gauge
    When building a rifle for myself or someone else, I always make a bullet seating gauge out of the piece of barrel I cut off.(usually, good barrels come 28"-30"). Before cutting it off, I'll turn it true and parallel. After cutting it off I chuck it up in the lathe and use the chamber reamer to cut a short chamber, just past the shoulder. Makes for easy and accurate reloading when you can check for seating depth by sight and feel. And really impresses customers. 'Mike'
If you have any tips you would like to see added in this section please e-mail them to me by clicking here with the words ' gunsmith tip' in the subject line.
Click here to submit your gunsmithing tip

Lothar Walther

NM Collector


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Disclaimer, This is an Informational website intended only as an aid to help and/or entertain the Firearm community, this site is not a buisness Mauser Central is a hobby page only. All firearm repair or modifications should be done by a qualified gunsmith. If you hurt or kill your self or someone else this website is in no way to be held responsible ! As I am telling you now gun repair is meant to be done by a gunsmith this site informs you of some tasks a gunsmith may perform. All copyrights belong to Mauser Central or the rightful owners thereof .
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