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Newly Energized Interest in "Fiddling"
Old 01-29-2021, 01:23 PM
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gitano gitano is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
Age: 69
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Default Newly Energized Interest in "Fiddling"

While visiting sakorick recently, I not only got to 'pull the trigger' for the first time in over a year, I also got my gun 'mojo' reinvigorated. With last year's hunting successes, (the bison, the once-in-a-lifetime whitetail, last year's mixed bag of squirrels, rabbits, pheasants and fish at Rick and John's), AND all the hoohah with COVID-19 and the national election, the wind was pretty much outta my sails with regard to anything to do with guns or hunting. The trip to Missouri cured that ailment.

First, I fell in love with one of Rick's rifles: the Sako P94S, chambered in .22 LR. I'm on the hunt, seriously, for one of those. Second, Rick and I are doing some horse-trading with firearms he doesn't want, for ones I have several of. Third, I did indeed get to HUNT a bit, and that was reinvigorating!

One of the things we did was shoot some VERY old Herters 8mm ammo. (Kinda strange stuff, actually.) In doing that, Rick decided he might rebarrel the 8mm we were using, as it was shooting patterns instead of groups. He noted that he had "just about everything" when it came to cartridges he was interested in so we were trying to decide on what would be a good choice. After some misfires, I suggested the .338 MAI. I really have come to love that cartridge, especially with the 220-grain Accubond. My hand-loads produce MVs that are only 50 f/s slower than my .338 Win Mag hand-loads. With that bullet, the thing shoots 'like a laser', and the thing just SLAMS white-tails to the ground - Dead Right There!

Rick liked the idea, and we started talking about how to 'git 'er done'. Y'all may recall that I had the Ruger #3 rebarreled to .416x.348 Win by PacNor, (http://www.thehunterslife.com/forums...ghlight=PacNor), and was VERY PLEASED with the result. You may also remember that PacNor's shop burned down last year. At the time, they hadn't decide whether or not they would rebuild. I gave them a call.

Much to my surprise and pleasure, they answered the phone and told me that they were indeed "back in business"! Not only that, they were still providing exactly the same services for exactly the same prices! YEEHAH! All they needed was the .338 MAI reamer. I told Rick I had one. I was wrong. So, I decided to call Pacific Tool and Gauge to see what a new reamer would run these days. That's a long story that I won't go into now. Of course they have the reamer, but because "Ashley" (or I), couldn't find it, I ended up speaking with Dave Kiff, the proprietor. THAT was an very interesting conversation.

I had noted two new items PTG was offering for sale. Actually, there were MANY new-to-me items for sale, but there were two that were VERY interesting. The first was rifling tooling. That's right. The tools to cut rifling. I have been looking for that for decades! Second, and somewhat related, "barrel boring reamers". WHOA! I asked Kiff about those items. "Sure" he said. "Just tell us what dimensions you want. We make the barrel reamer for all the major barrel manufacturers. We can make anything you want and have it CIP approved in 6 months." HOLEE COW!

Here's the last piece of the puzzle. As I mentioned here: http://www.thehunterslife.com/forums...hlight=selling, I'm selling off much of my collection. I just sold 7 Mosin Nagants and an SKS. I doing so, I had to look over my collection, which in turn had me asking myself the question: "Why did you buy this piece of garbage?" The answer to that question is: You were going to cannibalize it to make something else! Those "something elses" included a BUNCH of 8mm barrels. RIGHT! I can bore those shot-out barrels out, and install LINERS of the desired caliber and twist rate in them! They then fit perfectly on the receiver to which they were originally attached! YEEHAH!


When I told Kiff what I had in mind, he said: "Y'know, you can take your barrel blank to a local machine shop that grinds bewteen centers, and have the blank turned to a specific OD that will be perfectly aligned with the bore. Furthermore, with our barrel reamers, you can get a perfect fit, that once installed, is practically invisible. And they shoot great!" I actually detected a little excitement in his voice.

Oh, I forgot to add one other piece of the puzzle: I recently found a local sawyer that has a lot of local birch. It's GORGEOUS! I bought three big cants (8"x8"x9', 8"x8"x10', and 8"x8"x9.5'). They are currently at about 25% water content. When they drop to about 13%, I'll take them back and have him cut them into thicknesses appropriate for rifle stocks - about 2 and 5/8ths inches. I'll then cut them into stock blanks and air dry them to about 7%.

So, I am back in the rifle-making mind-set, if not yet "mode". I have ALL the pieces available to actually even rifle my own barrels if I so choose. I am STOKED! At this point, all I need to find is a local machine shop that will do the grinding to make liners. I'm sure there's at least one - maybe only one - in Alaska.

I'm thinking .338x54R may be my first 'make'. It was one of the first 'wildcats' I envisioned when I started collecting milsurps for cannibalization. There will be a .257 caliber in there pretty soon, too. A .257 liner should fit nicely in a skanky milsurp barrel that has been reamed out to take a liner.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." ~ C.S. Lewis.

Do not confuse technical skill for wisdom and do not confuse strength for skill. Paul Skvorc
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