Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Building a Custom RIfle

In my spare time as you all know I like to dabble in various crafts. Since hunting season is coming up and I am still using a borrowed rifle (I originally sporterized a K98 mauser, then gave it to my brother, then borrowed it back)so I decided before the season opened I would customize me a new rifle and return my brothers to him.

I chose a Yugo M27/47 Mauser, 8mm, from Samco Global Arms it is a short action Mauser and relatively cheap to get in good quality. Seems there was this Yugoslavian Mauser factory that turned out thousands of them before WWII and put them in storage, before they could be used, the Germans overran the factory and since they had plenty of Mausers already, just left the guns in storage. Then of course the war ended and possession returned to the Yugoslavians who have been dutifully cleaning, relubricating and putting these guns back into storage every 5-10 years since then! At least that is the story. Now they have been released for sale and I got me one.

Now military Mausers aren't ready for mounting hunting scopes and with their nearly full length stocks and hand guards over the top of the barrel tend to be a bit weighty for using for hunting. Also, they aren't as collectible as the true Germain Mausers so folks don't much care what you do to them. The first thing you do is replace the stock with one more suited for carrying about the woods. IN this case I choose a nice walnut stock from Boydes. I wanted my stock a bit more custom than just a simple walnut stock so I added an Ebony forearm tip, a buffalo horn pistol rig cap and a recoil pad. Here is a before and after shot.

Next I will checker the forearm and pistol grip area, here is a shot of a forearm of a practice stock I did the other night. I thought it best to do a practice stock first since I have never done checkering before. I used the old military stock that came with the Mauser.

Today I am glass bedding the action. Glass bedding is where you remove some of the wood that supports key parts of the action and receiver and replace the wood with epoxy resin. The resin gives a more uniform "fit" and makes sure the action and barrel don't move between shots. It always makes me nervous when I do glass bedding (this is the 4th rifle I have done) because if you don't get enough release compound on the action you end up epoxying your rifle together!

After the glass bedding, I will turn the action and barrel over to a gunsmith who will remove the old front and rear sights and re-crown the barrel. The crown is the area of the barrel at the tip of the muzzle where the bullet comes out. Along with the bullet comes an explosion of hot gas that propels the bullet. If the crown isn't near perfect it can shift the bullets trajectory or cause it to tumble in the worst case which can play Hobbs with your accuracy!

While the action and barrel are off getting trimmed, I will put the finish on the stock. First a final sanding then a good rub down with steel wool and an application of stain to darken the wood a little. Then a rub down with fine sandpaper and steel wool, then stock sealer. At this point I will apply the checkering to the forearm and pistol grip areas. After the checkering is done, a little of the finish (a Tung oil derivative) to the checkered areas. Then another sanding (not on the checkered areas) and an application of the finish. I am using an oil based finish similar to Tung oil. After that dries, repeat the steel wool rubdown, then another coat, repeat until satisfied with finish.

Hopefully by the time I finish the stock, the gunsmith will be done with the action. I will then re-blue any areas where the bluing has been damaged or is missing, like under the rear sight. After the action is re-blued, a final cleaning and lubrication and I mount the drill-less scope mount (it wraps around the action and uses a barrel clamp, which may require a bit of inletting to fit) then the rifle is reassembled.

After reassembly I need to check that the barrel, from the 2 inch area after the receiver where it is glass bedded out to the end of the stock is free floating. Then after mounting the scope, it is off to the rifle range to zero it in!

So it appears I will be a bit busy in the evenings right up to mid-September when I leave for OOW and vacation.

I will be publishing a full description of everything done with pictures on www.scribd.com when I finish, kind a poor man's guide to customizing a Mauser.