Gunsmithing Q&A with Ken Brooks

kenBrooksAGI Instructor Ken Brooks
PISCO Gunsmithing in Oregon.

AGI Instructor and Master Gunsmith Ken Brooks loves to help other gunsmiths, especially those still building their experience and skills, by answering their questions. If you are a Gun Club of America member or an AGI Pro Course student, you also get access to this invaluable benefit.

Take a look at these three questions he has answered in the past. Many of you might be asking for the same information.


Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm. The pistol works well, however, when the casing ejects it comes straight back into the shooters face, down the shirt, etc. What is the best method to adjust where the casing ejects? Preferably to the side not straight back. Thanks for the help.

Ken’s Answer:

Look at the inside of the slide below the ejection port. The port is already lowered on that model I believe so you probably don’t need to lower it, but you may want/need to chamfer the inside edge to give you a bit more clearance. Now onto extractor/ejector. The ejection angle is a direct line between the last part of the ejector to touch the case and the last part of the extractor to touch the case. You can change the ejection angle by moving the last point of the ejector to touch the case up or down. Same thing with the extractor, you can recut it so it will allow the case to pivot a bit and the angle change. Make sure the extractor is tensioned correctly as well as this can also cause the jam you describe.


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 Mike

Ken’s 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.



Have any of you lightened the trigger on a Ruger #1? Customer would like it to be 1/2 lb or less. What he would really like is a double set trigger but neither he or I have been able to locate one. (If anyone knows of one please let me know.) Brownell’s has a single set trigger that will set to 1 lb. That same company also makes one for a Mauser that will set at 6 oz. So another one of my questions is…will the internal makeup of the #1 not allow for such a light trigger pull to begin with? Or is it just the popularity of the different guns? Can the springs and such in the #1 be lightened and can all the surfaces be polished enough to achieve a light enough trigger pull or should I just tell him to go with the single set trigger and be done with it? I don’t want to start in one direction and find out that it won’t work and have to redo everything back to original and then start over in another. Any light that you all can shed on this subject will be greatly appreciated.

Ken’s Answer:

The factory triggers on most Ruger number ones is creepy and fairly heavy, as I am sure you all know. The various parts can be smoothed and polished and the hammer and sear altered to give you a fairly good trigger pull in the range of 3 lbs. With alot of time and energy they can be safely lightened abit more than that. I would NEVER do a half pound trigger pull on most factory triggers. Some aftermarket triggers can be adjusted to very light but a half pound is VERY VERY light. Since he wants a very light trigger I would suggest the Kepplinger single set trigger. I have put a couple of their triggers in a couple of Mauser rifles. On the Mausers they have a nice standard pull around 3lbs. Then once set they can be fairly light. This is good as the trigger has to be positioned by the shooter to be that light. He is taking on some of the liability. I have never installed one of those triggers in a Ruger Number One so I am not sure as to the amount of work it will take.

7 Responses to Gunsmithing Q&A with Ken Brooks

  1. The scope base alignment can be corrected with undrilled base material from brownell and a mill or drill press. pressPut the gun in a vise setup for drilling the holes. Put long set screws in the holes and use a parallel bar to indicate the vise in line with the holes in the action. Then clamp the vise down and use this line to drill new holes in the base and the base will be straight with the gun and the holes in it will align with the misaligned ones on the action

  2. Sorry to hijack this thread but I wanted to add something to an FAQ question from the ebook.

    Damascus barrels were made from iron and steel pieces hammer welded into bar stock. Many patterns may be made in this way. The bar stock was then heated, spiral wound around a mandrel with the bore and exterior of the tube to be finished later. So, many small pieces are forged together for physical properties and aesthetics as well and then hammer forged in a spiral pattern to form the tube shape.

    There are a few sources of information on the web including pictures of workmen working the bar stock into the tube shape, it being a two man operation. Blank barrels are also available for sale in limited quantities.

    The latest iteration of patterned steel may be that produced in Sweden by combining granules of different steels in patterns which are then subjected to heat and pressure to form a homogenized product. This is technically not damascus steel but patterns may be built into the material giving similar aesthetics and much improved physical properties.

  3. You may want to consider Burris Signature Rings. I have been using these for years, the advantage they have over standard rings is the pivoting synthetic inserts that can be purchased in different offsets to move the scope around almost indefinantly. When I mount a scope with these rings I set the scope reticle to it’s true center, and use the insert combinations to have it bore site in this (scopes center position), that way you have full adjustment of windage and elevation. Another plus is the inserts do not mar your scope tube, and I have used them on very high recoil rifles and handguns with no scope movement issues. The rings are available for several different base types.

    • Look under the Resources tab at the top of the page. Ken’s info can be seen there listed as PISCO Gunsmithing.

  4. QUESTION: We discovered one arm of the cross hairs on my son’s .308 rifle’d scope flops out of place. Can this be fixed or should I just recommend a new scope. The cope is no longer under warranty.

    • Depends on the cost of the scope. It can be repaired, but may cost as much as a new scope. Depending on the type and cost of the original scope, it may just warranty recommending a new scope