Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I've been thinking about the list of guns I want. Seems to change all the time. Should I list them? Think I will...

1. Browning 1886 SRC w/tang sight(enroute)
2. Winchester M92 SRC .45 Colt with Tang Sight and maybe a few extras... (clone from Steve's Gunz)
3. Savage 99, straight grip, brass spool (maybe), .250-3000 OR .260 Rem OR .358 Winchester OR .300 Savage, receiver sight
4. Winchester 71 in .348 Winchester (what else?) with a good receiver sight.
5. Winchester 1895 SRC in .30-40 or .303 British with Lyman 38 receiver sight.
6. Marlin M39 Mountie (already have the Williams Foolproof Sight!).
7. Ruger 4 5/8" Bisley Vaquero, blued, .45 Colt. Might install Tru-Ivory grips.
8. Remington Model 8 in .30 Remington (might be coming already!). Want to convert to trapper length and install a good receiver sight.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

I know that most people know how difficult it is to stop pursuing a hobby (an obsession, really) once you start. Of course, some people have no idea, more's the pity for them... Anyway, as a sub-obsession of shooting I really like the Remington Model 8 and 81 rifles. I've been wanting to collect them and mostly been able to avoid falling victim to my baser desires in this area. I did know that this could not last.

I've bid on a Remington Model 8 in .30 Remington on Gunbroker.com. My bid isn't all that high, $125 but follow the link and look at the gun. You'll be astonished!

Well, my thinking was that I could just do a little work to it and then have my second Model 8. My first
Model 8 was my dad's and before him, his dad's and before grandpa, his brother's! This rifle has been around in only 3 generations. Anyway, it is the rifle that is the source of the lusting after Model 8s and 81s and so I bid on this rifle that looks like crap. Of course, the seller has it listed as a .30-30 (?) and says it went on auction because it wouldn't chamber a round (a .30-30?) but I know it is really a .30 Remington of different shape and with a rimless case. I figure that I can get a new forearm from GunParts Corp., ammo from Buffalo Arms, reloading dies for CH4D, and maybe a peep sight somewhere along the way.

My First Model 8 in .35 Remington with Lyman Receiver Sight

Another thing I want to do is to convert it into a "trapper" with a 16" barrel. I know of somebody who has done that and I'd frankly like to copy his idea. I would then have the gun re-blued (why not?) and refinish the stock and forearm so that they match better than they probably would.

These guns are fun but hard to find at a price like this that allows one to play around with gunsmithing projects. I'm looking forward to this one.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Hobbies are fickle things indeed. About 1994, I sold my AR-15 and got hooked on Contender carbines. While I still love them and use the, 21 barrels later I'm running out of expansion possibilities. I do have 2 pistol barrels (and grips for them) but I just never could get excited about the Contender pistol. From the time the Contender came out, I'd been thinking of it with a long barrel in fun cartridges. It was everything I'd always thought it would be and it does help one experience cartridges one would otherwise have to order an entire gun (at attendant cost) to shoot. Things went well indeed but when barrels started going over $300-350 and requiring a 6-16 week wait PLUS poor quality control by the makers (giving you not quite what you ordered) I started losing interest in expanding the herd.

Then, I found Leverguns.com and their forum. There are lots of wonderful folks over there. They love and know their leverguns and are willing to share info and availability of guns. Truly, they enable the addiction! Now I am truly addicted.

I'm so addicted that I visit Gunbroker.com and AuctionArms.com daily. My tendancy, aside from the current guns I own, is to the saddle ring carbines or trappers. These compact, powerful and useful guns probably epitomize the gun that won the west, the saddle rifle of the cowboy, etc. They are full of western "romance" and when I was a kid, THE gun to have. I guess this is why the guns that interest me are so difficult to find at prices I can afford! Still, I plug away.

These are the three guns I currently own, shown together

and they are (from top to bottom): A Marlin 1894C in .357 Magnum, Marlin 336T in .30-30 and Winchester M94 in .30WCF (.30-30). I've no preference of maker but what I do want is an example of certain types. High on my priority list is a Winchester M92, a Winchester 1886 and a Savage 99. I will probably want a Winchester or Browning 71 as well.

I've already written about my desires for a M92 SRC or SRC Trapper. I was thinking of a button-mag (or half-mag) but have thought better of it. Still, I will be going to Steve's Gunz as he will buy the gun, perform the smoothing up and install the tang peep sight and then ship to my dealer. A very smooth transaction (and rifle action) is possible by doing this.

I think it is a little more than coincidental that Gunbroker.com has had listings for 3 of the Browning 1886 SRCs in .45-70. These are absolutely beautiful firearms and well made by Miroku of Japan (these people are doing Winchester's current 1892 leveractions). With a good aperture receiver sight, I think these would be a great rifle that would do it all for the North American hunter of big game.

The Savage 99 is an action I want that has to conform to my preferences. I want a straight grip, aperture receiver sight, and chambered to either the .250-3000, .260 Remington, or .358 Winchester. Kinda peculiar in today's world. Most people want to scope sight such a gun, particularly in the .250-3000 or .260 Remington chamberings. By the way, if you don't already know, the .260 Remington will be a custom deal. Savage never chambered a 99 for the .260 Remington.

Now, with the Winchester 71, one doesn't have much choice. It will be pistol gripped AND it will come in one chambering, .348 Winchester. However, this is a perfect cartridge for the aperture sight and one can learn to live with the pistol grip and curved lever.

Yes, indeed, hobbies are fickle things.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Well, it has been some time since my last comments. Some things have happened and I've been really busy during the summer. Don't quite know why, but the wife expects to do something other than mess with guns.

I've bought a third lever action rifle. Yes, I've gotten that fever, too. This is my new (to me) Marlin M336T. Made in 1982, this version has an 18" barrel. I'd been looking for one and when I saw it for only $260 on GunBroker.com I knew I had to get it. Wasn't planning for it, I had other higher priority projects, but couldn't pass up the opportunity. This was the gun I wanted when I bought my 336C in 1970 but couldn't find one then either!

As you can see, it has been around a bit. I added the Lyman 66LA receiver sight before taking the picture (and the sight slot blank) but had yet to remove the sling swivel stud and stud band. Those sling swivel studs are now gone. Removing them presented another problem.

I don't know why but many, many shooters seem to think that the Marlin trademark bullseye in the stock is the designated installation point for the rear sling swivel stud. In fact it is the WORST place to screw in your Uncle Mike's sling swivel stud. The plastic will break up far quicker than the wood of the butt. Also, please, predrill the hole before screwing the stud in. It makes for a much neater job. Well some past owner had done this as well. When I removed the stud, I had a gaping hole where the bullseye had once been. The stud's screw had completely broken the bullseye up and left a 5/8" hole to fill. I am thinking that what I'll do is to fill a lot of it with JB Weld and insert a "button" of deer horn. In the center of the deer horn I'll drill a hole and glue in a short piece of copper wire. I'll leave it standing proud of the stock and then file it down to match the stock configuration. Should give me a very unique bullseye!

I'm also thinking of refinishing the stock (and slightly thinning the forearm) and staining it darker. I think I'd like a darker stock. That would make an excellent January/February project.

I currently have 3 leveraction rifles. I've owned others but they had to be sold or were traded for others.  There are some similarities. First, all are straight gripped. It just seems more natural to me. Maybe, I've been too heavily influenced by all the cowboy westerns I watched or maybe it really does feel better when working the action. I don't know, but I prefer the straight grip style.

Second, they are all fitted with a receiver or aperture sight. The top and bottom guns have the Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight and the "new" rifle in the middle has the Lyman Model 66LA sight. I really prefer an aperture sight on these guns. The sight gives extended sight radius, is quick in the field, I have LONG experience with it (over 40 years continuous use including military use), it is compact and doesn't interfere with handling the gun and it is light.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a problem with the Lyman sight. Not to say that they are all like this but this one is a disappointment. I've used them before with satisfaction but in this case, the elevation plate screw stripped the threads and can't be tightened and secure the elevation plate. This is necessary because the Lyman sight has a plate that can be "zeroed" or slid up and down relative to the marking on the sight base so that you can dismount and remount the sight with the quick release OR change the sight elevation and return to the "standard" setting. I did write Lyman, but I am no going to return the sight. I will just epoxy the elevation plate in place and leave it there. Frankly, I may not buy another new Lyman 66 sight.

In contrast, the Williams sights have never given me a moment's problem. They have been utterly reliable. Not only do I have them on the 2 leverguns shown above but also on a semi-sporterized (read bubbaized if you prefer) M96 in 6.5x55 and have had them on all but 2 of my other leverguns. Those included the dearly departed 336C and a Marlin 1894 in .44 Mag. Only a Wincester M94 in .44 Mag didn't stay around long enough to get the FP sight treatment. The other rifle already had a tang peep and didn't need another 2 holes drilled for the FP. I wisely kept the sight when I was forced to sell the rifle.

Now, I guess I've really succumbed to the disease of leveractionitis. I've gotten it in my head to do a button-mag Winchester M92 carbine in .45 Colt. After it was suggested by a fellow disease "sufferer", I am fixated on a "trapper" version with a 16" barrel AND I would like it to have a color-case hardened receiver. Steve of Steve's Gunz will do the work and has made some cogent suggestions of his own. This will be a full on custom gun and it will no doubt take some time to get the money together.

One of the driving issues is portability in a vehicle and usability or even possessability in various jurisdictions. The short barrel addresses the first 2 issues and the 16" or "long enough" barrel addresses the latter. The .45 Colt cartridge is usable in factory guise as an effective self-defense round but can be loaded up for deer hunting and longer range use. The button-mag will give sufficient capacity for self-defense use but will not hamper the handling characteristics. The carbine butt will be more RV and truck friendly even if it is carried in a case. There will be no sharp points to scratch or puncture the more delicate features in those vehicles and so it won't arouse the wrath of she-who-must-be-0beyed.

Soon it will be hunting season and we'll all be down the road for some fun. I hope to have photos this year.