Gunsmithing Q&A with Ken Brooks

kenBrooksAGI Gunsmithing Instructor and Master Gunsmith
Ken Brooks operates
 PISCO Gunsmithing in Oregon.

Master Gunsmith Ken Brooks, one of the AGI instructors, has been a valuable resource for Gun Club of America members for years, answering their questions and helping them become better and more successful gunsmiths. Here are a few of his answers to their questions that may also help you.

Question:

I received a stock refinish job today. The customer brought in with the stock a after market plastic butt plate from Brownells.It fits the curve of the stock perfect. But the width and height are too wide and tall. Question is can I fit this just like if I was doing a recoil pad? My concern is will the plastic melt when grinding it? Will it turn out smooth? Thanks

Answer:

First make sure that the plate is solid on the underside all the way to the outside of the stock. Next make sure that there is no border that will look bad when it is dressed down to the stock dimensions. Finally you can grind it down but go slow, use a coarse grit (60) belt, and don’t let it get too hot as it will melt. Then just sand it with the stock and make it look good.

Question:

Does anyone know a good reliable cold blue process? I have tried Birchwood Casey in the past with limited success. I took in an old Win. 94 and it could use some touchup, but I don’t want to take away any collector value in the process. Most of the wear is on the bottom third of the receiver, where it has been carried all these years. There is also some wear on the sides of the magazine tube and barrel. Thanks.

Answer:

To preserve the collector value do NOT use or do ANY bluing. A gun that is in original condition, i.e. wear and tear and scratches is worth more than one that has been reblued in any manner. If you want, clean any rust off with fine steel wool and use a good gun oil, but other wise leave as it.

Question:

I was wondering if anyone has seen plans for a bullet trap that we could use to test fire the firearms we repair?

Answer:

I have seen snail traps (www.snailtraps.com) and they are made by Savage. These are the only practical, safe one I have come across. They seem to have them in all sizes too.

Question:

Ken, I have had several guns come in lately that the scope mount is off to one side or the other so far that it is not possible to adjust the windage screws to compensate for the difference. I have milled a couple mounts to correct this, but is there easier way that you or anybody does to fix this ill. I had a Black Diamond come in that the drilling for the scope mounts was out of line, that one I recommended he return to T/C. I figured I could plug it and re-drill, but on such a new gun I figured T/C would replace it and make it right anyway.

I have a Colt .44 mag in the shop now it has a Redfield scope and a one piece rail on it. The customer brought it in bottomed out on the windage and it is still at least 4 inches off on the collimator. I could put adjustable rings on, but the gun, scope, base and rings are all the same camo pattern and he doesn’t want to change anything. Any Suggestions?

Answer:

Good questions, when the scope base is installed crooked and you don’t want to plug and re-drill and tap for whatever reason you can alter the bottom of the scope base so the base itself leans the direction you need to move the scope. Now the scope can collimate. NOW with that said, someone will call us or e-mail us and say that the base is not in line with the barrel and so if the gun is sighted in at 100 yards it will be off at, say 200 yards. This is true but remember that it will not be enough to worry about on a basic hunting rifle/handgun and your customer won’t even be able to tell. (Most target shooters won’t be able to tell either). Remember that the guns produced today are made in mass quantities on computer operated machines, they are very good, BUT NOT PERFECT, your TC is an example of this. MANY factory guns (and custom guns for that matter) are not plumb with the bore. The above mentioned fix can alter the point of impact by quite a bit, up to 12 inches depending on what type of bases you’re altering. The other method of repair is to drift the existing scope base hole the direction needed with a small burr in your Foredom/Dremel tool, now take the correct drill for the next size tap and drill the hole so it is round and true. Re-tap to the larger size and the base will now sit true. Hope this has helped, if not keep asking and we’ll get you squared away.


2 Responses to Gunsmithing Q&A with Ken Brooks

  1. In regards to your last suggestion where you would drift the hole in existing mount and then drill and tap to larger size, wouldn’t in be better to make a small bushing, press in and leave everything else as is. Just a thought