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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Take an automotive tire valve stem and clip the end of the internal
valve pin and a handy little spring will fall out.
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.
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.
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
The best pin chuck I have is a cheap 1/4" drill chuck and
bolt attached to a file handle.
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
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
a link to the process/ instructions for rust blueing
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 '
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.