Saturday, February 14, 2009

Installing sights on the $65.00 project shotgun

The first step to making the project shotgun a practical gun we need sights. Here we have a set of TruGlo brand fiber optic sights meant for a Knight brand muzzleloader. I aquired these last summer at a garage sale for $2.00. Also in the photo is a tube of Loctite 380 Black Max cement. This cement is formulated to be used in applications where shock is a factor. I couldn't find this locally, but, was able to special order it from my local Lowes store, which can special order through W.W.Grainger, the industrial supply company. Shipped to my door it was around $7.00. In addition you will need a flat surface to work on, a vice with padded jaws if possible, a square a drill press or a second square,a scriber, some rubber cement, an abrasive of some sort, and alcohol or hot water & detergent to degrease everything.

The weather has turned cold again and my workshop has no heat. Lucky for me an old friend offered me the use of his engineering lab at work. While I suddenly found myself in a high tech setting, the environment we were in was overkill, so don't let it intimidate you. The important thing was having a warm place to work so the cement could bond properlyHere's the gun set in the vice. Careful adjustment was made to make sure the gun was vertical. The fore end had been removed and we clamped on the barrel lump. Had this vice had padded jaws we could have clamped on the reciever itself. After clamping the gun in the vice we moved it around unti it was vertical. To do this we placed a square on our smooth surface and checked it against the sides of the reciever. This gun has an investment cast reciever, the right side of the gun was milled true during manufacture, the left side however was anything but flat. The right side is what we used to put our square against. The next step is to find the very top of the gun barrel. This is done by placing the second square against the first or by placing a piece of rod in your drill press. This is gently brought down on top of the barrel where it touches the top of the radius, which you then mark with your scriber.

Here the barrel has been marked and using the scribe marks to center the sights I have rubber cemented the sights in place. This allowed me to make sure of where I wanted the sights on the barrel. Having decided the permanant location of the sights I'm scribing around thier bases. After this step I removed the sights and used the scribe marks as a guide in removing the bluing and roughing the barrel surface beneath the sights. I didn't try to remove the bluing all the way to my scribe lines, I needed them to use as a reference when finally cementing the sights in place. While I was at it, I used my abrasive to remove the anodizing from the bottom of the sights themselves. I then degreased the barrel with alcohol and applied a bead of black max to the barrel where the bluing was removed.
Here is the finished job. All we have to due is put the fore end back on. I'm going to wait a few days before trying to shoot it. This should give the cement time to fully cure. You may think the sight locations look a little funny. There was a method to my madness. The rear sight was located in front of rather than on top of the chamber. When a gun fires the barrel actually expands slightly in the chamber area. A microscopic and temporary stretch of the metal for sure, but, why risk the cement bond eventually breaking because of it. Also being in the over 40 crowd my eyes are starting to feel thier age. The farther away that rear sight is, the easier it is to see. And yes there is 3/4 of an inch between the end of the barrel and the front sight. I mentioned in the first post about this gun that it might get screw in chokes. There has been another development on that front. A recent talk with a gunsmith friend put me on another track. Back in the days before screw in chokes, add on choke devices were popular. Sold under the names of polychoke, cutts compensator, etc. It was popular to take older shotguns with very tight chokes and convert them to these adjustable systems. When these devices were installed, it destroyed any collector value these guns might have had. Well, now it's popular to take those old often worn out shotguns and make coach style guns for cowboy action shooting. This has left my gunsmith friend with a huge parts box full of old style choke devices. And that box is mine to pick through with whatever I select costing between $5.00 and $15.00 depending on what I pick. These devices mount to the outside of the barrel, so we'll need that 3/4" to mount one.
Next time we'll either pick and install a choke device, or we will make our cast lead butt plate.
Oh! BTW, when we were finished my friend passed along 14 boxes of cast bullet 9mm handgun reloads. Can anybody guess what our first chamber insert will be? THANKS Jeff!


Amy said...

You and my husband have this hobby in common. It's a good thing we're not neighbors or I'd have to pry you two apart with a crow bar!

Bullseye said...

Love this project and can't wait to read more. Great job.

woodsrunner said...

Amy, your hubby would be more than welcome to pull up a stool in my workshop. I don't think you'd be prying him away. I'm sure as soon as you saw Pelenaka's restored 1950's kitchen, it would be the men doing the prying. LOL

Bullseye, I'm glad you are enjoying the shotgun project. I'm mainly trying to keep it low budget, in order to show being prepared doesn't have to be a big buck endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Being an semi-seasoned shooter myself, I might suggest adding an aperture to that rear sight blade might help you focus on that front blade better. On a .22 single shot I own, I glued a synthetic plumbing gasket that has an interior aperture of about 3/32" - helps my sight picture quite a bit. The synthetic is quite light, so I doubt would get enough kinetic energy to get kicked off.

I enjoyed your project - hope it works out great. I have a similar project in mind - I appreciate the helpful hints.