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My Gunsmithing Project Impossible???

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by JDinFbg, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    Back in the mid to late 60's when I was getting started in competition benchrest rifle shooting, handloading, and wanting to develop some gunsmithing skills, an older gentlemen in my rifle club, who did gunsmithing on a part-time basis, took me under his wing and was my mentor in these pursuits. He also dispensed a lot of common-sense information for which I will be eternally grateful. One day some "young kid", as my friend described him, came to him with a Model 43 Winchester rifle in pieces - literally pieces (see picture) - and wanted to know if he could put Humpty Dumpty back together again. My friend declined the job since it would take too much time, have no guaranteed outcome, and he would have to charge more than the rifle was worth. He told the "young kid" that the only value in the rifle was for spare parts. The back story to this is that the "young kid" had attempted to drill and tap the rifle for scope mounts, used a pipe wrench to remove the barrel from the receiver, and totally botched the job. The "young kid" got thoroughly PO'd and took the rifle out and attempted to wrap it around a tree. My mentor friend let me know about this and suggested that if I wanted a beginning gunsmithing project this might be a good one to try since it wouldn't cost much and I wouldn't have much to lose. I never met the "young kid", but through my friend paid $10-$15 for the shattered rifle.

    Fast-forward 50 years and I've finally drug this rifle out of storage with the intent to try to resurrect it. As my mentor friend noted 50 years ago, I don't have much to lose. Through review of the exploded view and a parts list breakdown on the Numerich Arms website, I've determine that the only essential pieces I'm missing are the trigger guard and the two trigger guard screws. I further discovered that I already had a set of scope bases for this rifle. I've started work on gluing the stock back together and think I have successfully been able to straighten the barrel. At least, it no longer wobbles excessively when spun between centers on my lathe, and the view down the barrel no longer shows the far end looking like a partially eclipsed moon. This project may be an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and I can't guess as to what I'm going to end up with, but I'm game for the challenge. Wish me luck.

    IMG_6157.JPG
     
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    the stock should go back together my have to put some pins in tho.
     
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  3. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    .22 Hornet?

    Personally, I'd slap the stock back together without regard for aesthetics and see how the rifle performs. If it's a shooter, refinish the metal parts and build a nice custom stock for it.
     
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  4. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    This one happens to be 218 Bee. I have a 22 Hornet in my single-shot Winchester Hi-Wall that I like to shoot, but Hornet cases are notoriously thin and I don't get too many reloads out of them before the primer pockets enlarge or the necks split. If I can get this Model 43 to shoot, it will give me a repeater with a slightly larger round and maybe better case life.

    I'm kind of cheap, so the goal is to make what I have work with the minimum expense. Thus, I'm going all the way when I put this thing back together with refinished metal, Devcon epoxy bedding, and mostly floated barrel. The front bedding surface will be on the barrel since the Model 43 is held in the stock with a stock stud dovetailed into the bottom of the barrel about an inch forward of the receiver. The stock may look a little ugly, but it will make for a good conversation piece if it shoots well.
     
  5. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Here is wishing you luck. It's something I would certainly do. At the very least you will probably learn a thing or two and might wind up with a good shooter.

    I don't see it as cheap, just frugal.
     
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  6. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Fun project! What are you going to use to put the stock back together? There seems to be plenty of surface area on the breaks, maybe a polyurethane glue or 2 part epoxy?
     
  7. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    Please do not use polyurethane, which foams and swells during curing, unless you can get pre-catalyzed stuff commercially (very doubtful). And then you'd have to order a five-gallon pail (!).
     
  8. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Epoxy is the superior solution along with reinforcement via metal pins etc. Get the clear or yellowish type and stain it using colorants suitable for epoxy use. The stock is pretty badly splintered around the receiver, where recoil, albeit relatively light, will take its toll. The foaming Gorilla polyurethane glue type is not recommended for something like that, apart from its foaming expansion characteristics.
     
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  9. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    For gluing the 4 main pieces together, I'm using Titebond II. There are some hairline cracks in the main part of the stock that I'm going to inject with a product called Chair Briwax which is a thin glue designed for fixing chair spindles and will wick into the cracks and hopefully bond them. Where there are small segments of wood missing on the outside of the stock, I'm going to use Abatron's WoodEpox which is a shrink-free epoxy putty that can be machined. On the inside of the stock where the wood is missing in the area where the rear receiver screw goes through to the trigger guard, I'm going to use Devcon Epoxy Steel putty. I'll also use the Devcon to bed the action in the stock.
     
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  10. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    If you want something to wick into cracks get a good CA glue like Zap-A-Gap or Hotstuff. It wicks in great and fill a little bit. Its super strong and clear so it will look like a thick grain line. Yes I've used ZAG.
     
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  11. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    You may want to talk to @GunnyUSMC, he's very skilled at stock work.

    As to the rest, looking forward as to how it comes out!
     
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  12. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    When it comes to repairing a stock that has sins committed against it, you should not commit sins yourself.
    Glues don’t work on wood stocks doe to the oil that comes in contact with it. It breaks down the glue and the stock comes apart.
    An epoxy made to work with wood works the best. Acraglas is my first choice and Devcon Clear 2 Ton with the 30 minute set time would be my second.
    Wood filler looks cheap and is ugly. A wood filler can be made from epoxy and wood sanding dust that can match the wood.
    Here is a link to a stock repair post I did back in 2011.
    http://www.theguncounter.com/forum/...6014&p=159415&hilit=Cross+grain+plugs#p159415
     
  13. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    Not an impossible project, but it can be challenging. From this chair it looks like all the splits and breaks should fit back together just fine. And with the right "two-part epoxy", the joints may even prove hard to find. I've used some very good two-part epoxies, very similar to "ACRA-WELD", to get stocks like the one you show back to acceptable working order. One thing I would recommend is that you start with the largest part and then add and clamp two parts together at one time. That way you can make sure those parts fit back together correctly.
     
  14. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    Since my initial post, for better or worse, I have been able to glue the shattered stock back together and get all the pieces matched up in good alignment. I was missing some of the small fragments from the stock so used epoxy wood filler to fill the voids. After sanding the entire stock to get things smooth, I re-stained the entire stock, inside and out, with a Danish oil stain. It may not look all that fancy since the epoxy wood filler does not absorb stain, but I'm after function, not form, and I made a few modifications to what Winchester produced. First, I had no desire or use for the sling mounts, so removed those and filled in the holes with epoxy wood filler. Second, I salvaged the #10-32 threaded insert that used to secure the front sling mount to use for a new purpose. Since a couple of the breaks occurred around the front trigger guard screw hole and the hole was enlarged to a point it would not hold the original wood screw Winchester employed, I used the threaded insert from the front sling and secured it in the stock using Devcon epoxy steel putty and repaired some wood splintering that had occurred inside the trigger well. Even thought the screw only secures the front of the trigger guard, the concept of using wood screws to hold a rifle together just kind of bothered me.

    The next phase of the stock work will be to use my Dremel tool to remove some wood around the action/barrel fastening points in preparation for doing an epoxy steel bedding job with the Devcon.

    10-Forward Trigger Guard Nut Epoxied.JPG 12-Stock Restained-Right.JPG 11-Stock Restained-Left.JPG
     
  15. drband

    drband Member

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    That looks like it will work though cosmetically it's "interesting"!

    Glad to see your progress. I hope you get it going and it becomes a shooter again!
     
  16. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Sorry, but those pics almost brought tears to my eyes.
    Just about any stock can be repaired and made to look nice.
    FBA45414-7CE6-476A-BBF6-D3D83FA65FB4.jpeg
    EA1A6CC7-C6BE-4EA6-9B58-98C96BD013BB.jpeg
     
  17. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    Looks pretty darn good, from what you had to work with initially.
     
  18. Catcar67

    Catcar67 Member

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    My father was what would be considered "real old school". He taught me to try to fix something that's broken/not working first. Then if it still won't work, replace it. This still works for me.
     
  19. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    It's taken me awhile since I started this post to finally get to the epoxy steel bedding phase, but finally found time to do that this afternoon. In 24 hours or so I'll take things apart and see what I actually ended up with. Hopefully I got enough painter's tape, plumber's putty, and release agent on everything the epoxy touched and don't end up with an action and barrel permanently cemented in the stock or have to do an excessive amount of clean-up. I have that fear every time I bed a rifle, and luckily they've all turned out good so far. Hoping this one is no exception. So, waiting for the clock to run down, here it sits clamped in my vise.
    17-Metal Being Epoxy Steel Bedded_1.JPG 18-Metal Being Epoxy Steel Bedded_2.JPG
     
  20. tark

    tark Member

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    If memory serves me correctly, I think the 218 Bee is just a 25-20 necked down, which would make finding cases to reload much simpler.

    Frank DeHaas, in his book, "Bolt Action Rifles" warns that the 43s were prone to develop excessive headspace If fired extensively. I would definitely check the head space first. At least chose the bolt on an empty case and see if there is any fore and aft wiggle in the bolt. Probably best to stick with light loads, which would still outperform the Hornet

    And that's gonna be a beautiful little gun again!
     
  21. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    tark: I have about 200-300 brand new Winchester cases I stocked up on many, many years ago in anticipation of someday rebuilding this rifle. The Bee is a rimmed case and theoretically headspaces on the rim. I will only shoot the cartridges in this one rifle, and I only neck size cases. So, I don't expect headspace to be an issue. Like the 22 Hornet which I also have, Bee cases are fairly thin, and I suspect I will have more issues with primer pockets enlarging than anything else. In all of my handloads, I seek to find the load level that produces the smallest groups, and in my experience, the smallest groups are generally obtained at less than maximum powder load levels for a given cartridge. Thus, I expect that the load I finally settle on for my 218 Bee will be somewhere in the moderate level. My belief is that if the rifle can't consistently hit what I'm aiming at, all the velocity in the world will do me no good. There's a good chance this rifle may end up being far more capable at hitting targets than the shooter.
     
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  22. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Haven't looked for .25-20 brass lately, have you? The only dude who has it is a jerk and a half, and he wants $0.86/case shipped.

    Necking down .32-20 is the best bet for both us .25-20 shooters and the .218 guys. Starline sells .32-20 for $116/500 shipped.
     
  23. JDinFbg

    JDinFbg Member

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    I just checked the Midway USA website and they currently have Hornady 218 Bee brass for about $38.99 for 50 cases, and Starline .32-20 brass for $24.99 for 100, but the .25-20 brass is currently unavailable.
     
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  24. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    Sounds like a lot less messin' around to me. :)
     
  25. tark

    tark Member

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    When a Gander Mountain store opened me me some years back, I was surprised to see ten boxes of 25-20 Winchester factory 87 gr JFPs. They wanted $49.95 for a box of fifty. I offered them half price. They said no. I told them they were never going to sell that ammo, and sure as hell not at that price!! A year later the same ten boxes were on the shelf, with one box being in particularly bad shape. People were opening it out of curiosity to see what this strange little round looked like. I made my offer again. No again. Another year passed.

    This time they took my offer. I still have four boxes left.
     
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