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A “New” Rifle added to the Inventory

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Marco1010 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marco1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2020 at 2:22pm
What application technique did you use for putting the birchwood casey cold blue on?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2020 at 3:45pm
I followed their prep instructions.  Sanded the metal to remove all traces of the old finish.  Degreased. Applied the rust and finish remover, scrubbed with steel wool, degreased again, then applied the cold blue.  The barrel covered well on the first application, but applied it three times to be sure, as well as the other miscellaneous other parts. The action body took more applications.  I heated it with a hair drier the third time, that seemed to help.  

I like the appearance of it, a deep black.  I realize it won’t be durable, but the rifle will not get abused either.  Will be occasionally wiped down with oil.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 08 2020 at 3:18pm
Need some advice from those that replace barrels.  The barrel vice completely covers the flat on the chamber reinforce.  Other than trial and error (removing the barrel from the vice and removing the bushing) how do I correctly index the barrel to the receiver?  

In absence of a practical method, I intend to use the front sight base top surface and using a bubble level to clamp the barrel level in the vice.   Then tighten the receiver until the charging bridge top surface is also level.  

Any other suggestions?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2020 at 12:05am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

Need some advice from those that replace barrels.  The barrel vice completely covers the flat on the chamber reinforce.  Other than trial and error (removing the barrel from the vice and removing the bushing) how do I correctly index the barrel to the receiver?  

In absence of a practical method, I intend to use the front sight base top surface and using a bubble level to clamp the barrel level in the vice.   Then tighten the receiver until the charging bridge top surface is also level.  

Any other suggestions?





Instructions from Peter Laidler ………………. DON'T USE THE KNOX FORM !!!



ON THE SQUARE
I’m going to tell you how WE, the REME Armourers breeched up No4 and 5 rifles. And while we’re at it, this is the principle of how we did L1A1’s too.

I must stress that we were all taught the correct method of breeching up but to be honest, and I’m going to be simple now, you were relying on a parallel gauge, one end of which crossed the flat we call the KNOX FORM. And as you are well aware, while it is meant to be a datum surface and therefore accurate, in MOST cases so far as I was aware, it simply wasn’t! What I’m going to tell you ignores the relationship of the knox form with this that and the other and relies on good, sound, honest, common sense!

You have all (hopefully) read the previously published article about how we would select a barrel from a large rack of ‘em, that gave us about 18 degrees or so of underturn. If it was, say, 25 degrees, then you simply skim a gnats knacker or a RCH from the breeching up face. If it’s, say only 10 degrees, then you insert a breeching up washer to suit. Has all that stuff been read and digested?

Someone asked a couple of questions/comments about the breeching up washers after I said that we used the plentiful L1A1 washers. And simply put, the L1A1 washers are a good fit and do the job perfectly. As for the quality, well, simply put, they might not be HARD, as in mechanical engineering terms but they are TOUGH and that’s what counts in this application.

When you have breeched up your barrel so that it LOOKS pretty-well square, I want you to select a solid (as in not the fabricated type) foresight protector with straight and undamaged sides and secure it to the foresight block band When the screw it tightened up, this foresight protector should grip the block band each side. In other words, even when the screw is loosened a tad, you should not be able to rotate the protector….., not even a little bit. It must slide and sit on the foresight block band tightly.

Now you probably won’t have a hundred or so foresight protectors to try before you get one that’s perfect. You won’t need that many, and most probably, the first or second you try will do. If you can’t find one, then just make sure that before you tighten yours up, then it is sat EXACTLY equidistant/centrally astride the block band. Do you understand this. It is important.

As a matter of interest, we had an exact protector that was painted BFA yellow (that’s Blank Firing Adaptor paint colour …..) that stayed with the breeching up kit together with an extended screw with an allen-key end for ease of use but I digress…...

Now, you insert a 4” long or so .144” diameter or 9 SWG (Standard Wire Gauge) ground steel bar, through the backsight axis pin hole and rest this across two matched vee blocks that are sat on a surface plate at a height that allows the rifle to lay parallel to the surface plate or something else that is 36” or so long and absolutely FLAT. We had a sheet of plate glass that did the job as well as anything. Now, allow the foresight protectors to touch the glass. Now, gently rock the barrel and the body between the axis pin and the protectors. It SHOULD sit absolutely square, supported between the axis of the backsight axis pin and the square of the foresight protectors.

If it’s not EXACTLY square and rock free, then just tighten or undo the barrel a further gnats knacker until it is ‘no-rock’ perfect. And that is it! If we were 2nd Class Craftsmen, we’d ask a 1st class Armourer to sign off the work but to be honest, after a couple of times, it was like riding a bike

Now you have a backsight and a foresight that are both exactly upright and square to each other, regardless of what the parallel gauge or alignment lines say……….., and that’s really all that’s needed. Oh yes, and don’t talk to me about alignment bars/lines either. If you have ever breeched up Thompson guns or SA80 rifles, then you soon learn to ignore them and do it properly. If you have any fears that the extractor slot might not align with the extractor then forget it because there is ample width to cater for it.

The same idea applied to L1A1 rifles except this time, the vee block was positioned inside the body, resting on the machined inner surface. Same with No5 rifles too but this time, because we couldn’t be sure that the splayed foresight protector ‘ears’ were both splayed exactly, then a simple square was cramped to the parallel part of the upright that really needs no further explanation.

Now here’s something that you didn’t know or thought about. If you have a rifle that won’t zero until the foresight it well over to the left or right, and I’ve seen plenty of then too….., now is the time to consider whether the barrel is slightly over or under breeched. Just a slight amount will upset the balance of the foresight block…………..


The 'official' tool.






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2020 at 6:14am
 Thank you Armourer.  I’ve used some of Peter Laidler’s principles to get the barrel indexed.  I think it’s well aligned.  

This is not a new barrel a F52, that I removed from the action body so that I could strip and refinish the barrel and receiver.  It was also a trial run for barrel replacement. 

I used a spirit level, a method I’ve successfully used for indexing M1 Garand barrels.  These levels are surprisingly accurate.  I fitted the front sight base and protector and aligned the barrel in the barrel vice to get it level.  This was the hardest part, as the bolts on the vice were tightened the barrel would rotate slightly.  But once this was done, the rest was easy.  




Action body hand tight and wrench installed. I applied anti-seize compound to the threads. 



I did not need the extension pipe on the wrench, a good tug on the wrench and it aligned perfectly the first attempt.  



Also checked alignment thru rear sight axis lugs



And rechecked the front sight alignment, 



I’m now bedding the trigger guard, and once that has hardened, the rifle will be assembled and test fired.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2020 at 6:48am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

 Thank you Armourer.  I’ve used some of Peter Laidler’s principles to get the barrel indexed.  I think it’s well aligned.  

This is not a new barrel a F52, that I removed from the action body so that I could strip and refinish the barrel and receiver.  It was also a trial run for barrel replacement. 

I used a spirit level, a method I’ve successfully used for indexing M1 Garand barrels.  These levels are surprisingly accurate.  I fitted the front sight base and protector and aligned the barrel in the barrel vice to get it level.  This was the hardest part, as the bolts on the vice were tightened the barrel would rotate slightly.  But once this was done, the rest was easy.


Nice job.

PL also made comment about the thread indexing :


........... regarding take-off barrels and the problems re-indexing them when used in another rifle afterwards. This is nothing new, not even with NEW barrels, especially ‘new’ old 40’s barrels that were still in the system until a few years ago. And dare I say it, but Savage spare barrels seemed to be the worst offenders.

At our big field and base workshops it wasn’t such a problem because we’d usually have a long racks of barrels, both new and almost new that we could use until we’d get one with the correct ‘hand-tight’ underturn that we could select for final fitting. Oh, yes……, before I forget, we always graded our barrels in quarters of life. If a barrel was in its first quarter of life then it’d be almost as new and so on to a last quarter of life where it was probably shot out. But shot out didn’t mean that it was duff or inaccurate either. Anyway, I digress………….. But don’t get the impression that it was just barrels where the breeching up threads were slightly out of index. It was the rifle bodies too. And if you got a rifle where the breeching up thread was ‘late’ (that is, commenced even a minute of angle late), then getting a barrel that would underturn was difficult. So I’ll take you through what could and would happen.

Sniper rifles were the worst because they were always at a premium and the Command AIA, (the Assistant Inspector of Armaments) would always specify new barrels for these but that was easy to say but sometimes difficult in practice. So where a new barrel couldn’t be found with the correct underturn, the breeching-up face of the body would be smoother-off with a smooth file, just a gnats knacker or as you wild antipodeans or colonial savages say, a RCH so that a datum surface was available. Then the best-fit barrel would be fitted until it read the correct underturn THEN a reading would be ascertained as to the thickness of material required to get the correct underturn. Lets say that in our case, it was .028”. That’s twenty eight thousandths of an inch.

Someone suggested that his gunsmith will insert a .028” steel shim and that’s the answer. Others have suggested that it’d be a good idea to gently swage the shoulder of the breeching-up face of the barrel, sufficient to take up the slack. DO NOT USE THESE METHODS. THEY ARE XXXX POOR ENGINEERING PRACTICE and verging on the best bubba practice you will ever have the privilege of seeing. Have you digested that?

This is what you do. Knowing that your barrel needs .028” underturn, get yourself a proper breeching up washer made. I’m not going to teach you or your machinist pal how to suck eggs but if you need .028”, then get the breeching washer made .128” THEN machine .100” off the breeching up face of the barrel (no, the breeching UP face, not the BREECH face silly…..). But I’ll let you into a secret. At our large Base workshop in Singapore, we were running major overhaul programmes of everything including L1A1 rifles. Then, someone noticed that the tough, hard, readily available and exact diameter required L1A1 breeching up washers were between about .055” and .070” thick. Now, we’d just take the barrel to the little Chinese fitter/turner (he had a big pile of breeching up washers in his tray anyway) and say .”028” please Lim” and he’d mount the barrel and machine away .032” from the breeching up face. You’d walk back to the Armourers shop, past Steve’s Magnolia ice-cream van where you’d spend the next half an hour discussing politics or the Viet-nam situation or the new flower arrangement in the church with the rest of the blokes……..Oh, I’ve gone off at a tangent again…… Anyway, armed with the new barrel with .032” machined off the breeching up face PLUS a new .060” L1A1 breeching up washer you’d know that .060” - .032” was .028” which is JUST the underturn we need to tighten the barrel to make it PERFECT on the flat-plate we used to ensure that it was perfectly tight, upright and square.

Is that simple enough? It might be a tad more thoughtful that a steel shim or a good battering around the barrel flange that won’t last twenty minutes but it’s how the pro’s do it.

There are a few afterthoughts too. I’m telling you this so that when YOU need to do the job, then YOU tell your gunsmith how its done properly. And go and buy a selection of L1A1 breeching up washers now, while they’re available. When a badly shot-out/rusty bore No4T Lyman TP rifle was recovered recently, it too overturned by as much as it should have underturned, even with a new barrel. Our main workshops were at their wits end as there were only a few barrels from which to select. So what method do you think THEY utilized? Yep, got it in one. And it shoots as sweetly and accurately as it ever did. And as for us young 20 year old lads discussing politics, Vietnam or Flower arranging in 60’s Singapore…………, then if they did, I wasn’t part of the discussion!


Edit to add : US Source for L1A1 breech washers.

https://ernstarmory.com/category.sc?categoryId=38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2020 at 9:45am
Finally, the project is finished.  It’s been fun, can’t wait to take the rifle to the range.  

Here is a “before” pic.



Receiver, barrel, trigger guard, front sight protector, sling swivel band, lower hand guard retainer and magazine were cold blued with Birchwood Casey Perma Blue






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2020 at 4:28pm
A word of caution for those using the foresight protector as a reference for indexing the barrel to the action body. I found out that the top surfaces are nowhere near equal height.  I had to tweak the receiver a bit tighter to get the barrel correctly indexed using the front sight block top surface.  It’s a pretty small surface to get a good reference plane for a spirit level, but I checked it also with a straight edge with a built in level as well.  

Even noticeable in this photo.  The barrel is correctly indexed in this photo, but you can see the left side (looking aft) of the sight protector is taller than the right.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stumpkiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2020 at 6:11pm
I guess that's not really a surprise.  It's job was to protect the sight and the forming process probably bent it with a die that had a wide latitude for tolerance as it was never designed to be the barrel index.  I just checked mine out of curiosity and I can't detect any unevenness.  

Good heads-up to keep in mine, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2020 at 6:37pm
I only mention this because Peter Laidler state’s that’s how barrels were indexed in the armory. But, I’d bet they had one they knew was perfectly square for that purpose.  And, as he said, the knocks form is not parallel to the front sight block, so don’t use it. Mine is off by several degrees. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Whitjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2020 at 6:46am
This thread is awesome.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Armourer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2020 at 6:51am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

A word of caution for those using the foresight protector as a reference for indexing the barrel to the action body. I found out that the top surfaces are nowhere near equal height.  



As PL said :

Now you probably won’t have a hundred or so foresight protectors to try before you get one that’s perfect. You won’t need that many, and most probably, the first or second you try will do. If you can’t find one, then just make sure that before you tighten yours up, then it is sat EXACTLY equidistant/centrally astride the block band. Do you understand this. It is important.

As a matter of interest, we had an exact protector that was painted BFA yellow (that’s Blank Firing Adaptor paint colour …..) that stayed with the breeching up kit together with an extended screw with an allen-key end for ease of use but I digress…...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2020 at 7:23pm
I read that part, but the foresight protector is quite flexible, and with the screw, it’s easily snagged up against the sight block.  If it’s not machined square, equal height on each side, it doesn’t matter how well it fits against the sight block.  If you had one that is perfectly square, then it works as Peter explained. I think it’s more likely the sight block is machined square with the dovetail slot for the sight blade. 

I’ll know how well I got it indexed on the first shot.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2020 at 9:57pm
I know I am a day late and a dollar short on this one. However,when I was rebarrelling the Savage No4*, I punched a dot on the receiver and another one on the barrel flat. As I was tightening the barrel, I simply lined up the dots. I also checked that the extractor cut in the barrel was centered in the receiver. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2020 at 6:53am
 I had thought alignment marks after I had removed the barrel...

I did check the extractor slot, looks centered.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 23 2020 at 2:44pm
 This post should be the last on this thread on the rebuilt and refinished 1941 0Lxxxx Long Branch No. 4 Mk 1/2 I purchased from our good friend ASquare10.  Test fired the rifle today at the CMP Talladega Range.  It’s been closed for the last two months.  

Conditions were a bit muggy, 80 deg F, 80% RH.  Light winds, not a factor shooting at 200 yards.  All shooting was prone with sling at 200 yds, 10 shot groups. 

 I shot the rebuilt 0LXXXX Long Branch No. 4 Mk 1/2 (subject of this thread) and also my Fulton Regulated Long Branch 69LXXXX No. 4 Mk 1/3 as a control.  Loads were the same in both rifles, 174 gr SMK, 40.0 gr Varget, PPU Case, 3.05 OAL.  50 rounds each fired in these two rifles.  

No question that the 2 month break from shooting has opened up my groups! Extreme spread of 10 shot groups were about 1 MOA larger than what I typically do, I was not able to keep all 10 shots in the 10 ring on the SR target on either rifle.  Usually one shot just out of the 10 ring.  Group sizes not significantly different between the two rifles, 3.5 MOA on average.  

Here’s the interesting part.  First shot on the Mk 1/2 LB was dead center windage.  Sights were mechanically set to zero (PH 5DC aperture rear sight fitted).  So, the barrel indexing was spot on, could not have been any better.  I either got very lucky or the method I used just worked.  In the five 10 shot groups I fired, I did not have to correct the windage setting at all.  The odd thing is that the elevation had changed from my origional test firing before I removed the barrel, by about 5 minutes.  I did notice that the forend barrel up pressure has relaxed a bit, I may need to make a minor adjustment in the bedding. 

Front row of targets in this pic below is the 200 yard line.  




Here is the first shot, next pic is the first 10 shot group.  Had to raise the elevation setting 5 MOA from the original test firing setting, second shot I raised by 1 minute, then another 4 minutes on the third and subsequent shots. 








Failure to shoot a clean target was all attributed to the shooter, I’m just badly out of practice.   I had the same problem with my tried and true Fulton Regulated Long Branch 69L Mk 1/3 today. 









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