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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 57-----------MARCH 2007



March 1, 2007

Think Spring!  Think Spring!  I keep up this admonishment as I type, because we woke up this morning to another eight inches of snow!.  I guess when February is about to fade into the near distance I become too optimistic about again seeing dirt and watching the grass don its greenery in preparation for St. Patrick's Day.

Yeah, right!  The thermometer says the snow should be melting, and I suppose it is, but when you have a foot or so on the south lawn, it disappears ever so slowly.  Even Jennifer's Snowwoman and Snowdog are showing no signs of sweating!  That's right; snowwoman.  You don't even want to know "the rest of the story!"  You can likely live without an anatomical description of the Snowdog too!

The brown truck with gold letters made two stops here at the Ranch last week.  The first delivered a box from Brownell's in Montezuma, Iowa, and the second was a small shipment from Gradient Lens Corporation in Rochester, New York.

The Brownell's order contained a supply of drill bits for the most common sizes of screw holes in gunsmithing work, along with two items to move my Winchester 1895 project toward completion.

The rear "buckhorn" sight on the 1895 had to be removed in order to use the receiver sight I installed, leaving the dovetail groove in the barrel gaping and ugly for all the world to see.  They make a part for that!  A pre finished and blued slot blank to fill the dovetail can be had for under five bucks.  The dovetail blank will accomplish its purpose; I'm not so sure about the barrel band sling swivel.

Some background:  The 1895 has no factory installed sling swivels.  Installing a screw-in swivel stud in the butt-stock is no big deal, but the splinter sized fore-end just doesn't have enough wood to make a secure mount for one.  Besides, the fore-stock is too short to properly position a swivel stud, even if it were strong enough.

The solution to this problem is to utilize a barrel band swivel, installed 3 or 4 inches in front of the fore-end.  The one I ordered is made by Talley, of scope mount fame, and comes "in the white" for cold bluing before final installation.

After marking the desired location on the barrel, I used a digital caliper to carefully measure the barrel's diameter in front and in back of the band's planned location.  The idea is to order the band slightly undersize, and taper ream the inside to properly fit the barrel contour .  The band is then cemented onto the barrel with a two part epoxy called ACRAGLAS, a Brownell's proprietary product.

Problem!  BIG PROBLEM!  Last Sunday I put the 1895 in the gun cradle to further evaluate the project, and only then realized that the front sight base is not installed in a dovetail slot, and appears to be soldered to the barrel!  The barrel band I have is the "full circle" kind and won't go on without removing the front sight base!  How's that for a bad case of "should've checked that out before ordering?"

I have two alternatives.  The most practical and most likely is to return the Talley band and order another that only makes a three quarter circle around the barrel, and will thus slide on without removing the front sight.

There is another way, that would look kinda' cool though.  I have some front sights in the spare parts bin that are on a contoured ramp that screws onto the barrel with two #6X48 screws.  This would make the sight considerably higher than the existing one, but I have plenty of adjustment available in the receiver sight to accommodate that.  Of course this would mean un-soldering the factory sight, and drilling and tapping two blind holes in the barrel without penetrating the bore . . . . .   Nah, I think I'll just order the other band!  Check with me later on this one.

Now let's talk about the other UPS package.  Gradient Lens Corporation is a maker of extremely high quality (and expensive) optical viewing equipment for industrial use.  One of their most popular items for gun tinkering is their Hawkeye Bore Scope.  This is the only type instrument that will allow one to view the inside of a firearm barrel in microscopic detail.

Anyone who uses these scopes will tell you that it's the only way to see if a rifle barrel is perfectly clean and enable you to view imperfections, like rust pitting, and barrel wear, up close and personal.  I can now say with confidence arising from experience, that a bore that looks clean and shiny when peering down the barrel into a good light source, can really be in pretty sad shape.

The Hawkeye Kit in my safe comes with the fiber optic scope, light source, extra 90 ocular lens, and a mirrored sleeve that allows you to view the sides of the bore at a  90 angle.  (If you have a spouse or significant other, this is one of those items that may require as much or more, preplanning, love, diplomacy, and groveling as buying a new center fire rifle and scope!)

The only thing missing from my equipment inventory, was the little adapter thingy that attaches to the scope and screws onto the lens of my digital camera.  That's what was contained in the Gradient Lens shipment.  Hopefully, I can now memorialize with digital photos, what I'm seeing inside those barrels should I have a need to do so.

I say hopefully, because I haven't yet tried the new toy.  In fact, I'm gonna' stop right here and go "give it a whirl."  If successful, I'll post a picture and show you what the inside of a barrel really looks like.

Well, I'm back.  This is a neat toy, but I'll need more practice before I get it all figured out.  Getting the lighting, focus, and aperture set properly requires overriding the automatic camera settings, and I had not found a need to do that until now.  Anyway, here's a picture inside the barrel of the Model 1895.  This view is with the mirrored sleeve and looks directly at the lands and grooves from a  90 angle.

Of course the best and clearest view is obtained by eyeballing directly into the scope's ocular lens although I could run a video cable from the camera to a TV monitor and see this on a bigger screen.  Nonetheless, I have a lot to learn about this operation and I'll report further in future postings.

I'm still gonna' keep Thinkin' Spring!  It'll soon be time to load up some ammo with new powders and bullets, set up the bench rest and chronograph, and cure this itch in my trigger finger.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from one of my "hillbilly red neck" friends:

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail; but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn, that was fun!"

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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