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Thread: Any built a Winchester High Wall (1885) reciever?

  1. #1
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    I've been a single-shot fan for a long time...
    Was a practicing gunsmith for 10 years, and hobby-machinist for 15 years.

    I see Buffalo Arms carries "complete machining drawing" sets for several arms, including the Winchester 1885 High Wall.

    Has anyone here built an action from these (or any other) plans?
    How would you rate the difficulty?
    Would the project be made easiier if I know a guy with a Wire EDM for the block mortise in the reciever?

    My nieces are going to need "first" rifles in a few years...and I would love to present each of them with a High Wall with switch-barrels in .22LR and .32-40 (or something), inscribed with "From Uncle Paul"...

    I know it'd be a LOT of work... but the "easier" designs in Frank DeHaas book of single shot rifle plans do not appeal to me aesthetically like the High Walll and Low Walls do.

    Paul F.

  2. #2
    doc
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    know it'd be a LOT of work... but the "easier" designs in Frank DeHaas book of single shot rifle plans do not appeal to me aesthetically like the High Walll and Low Walls do

    amen , brother ..thot i was the only one

    havent built an action but made up more than a few varminters between 1960 & 1970 , modified tangs ,mann neidner type firing pins ,spring loaded extractor for rimless crtrdgs, etc.....back then u could get a lowall for abt 15-20 & a high wall for 35-40 $

    u will need a shaper or slotter for the "original looking mortise ( hadnt heard of an EDM back then)
    having made some double set triggers, dont think i want an action badly enuf today to fab one ..have seen a copy made by talented machinist w/out drawings ( not sure he cud read one ) & it was gorgeous..all heat RX was w/ a torch , & it was apparantly adequate ,being in use for several years......i am still amazed that the new xtractors i silver brazed onto the extractor arms stayed put .....
    go for it i had the same thots at one time, just to say i had made one ...never acted on it !!

    best wishes
    docn8as

    PS switch barrels 22LR & 32/40 also will require changing xtractors ., no way a quick switch....FWIW , a"plate" type extractor ,extending across the bottom 1/2 of chamber end,works a lot better for 22 RF ( too easy to slip past the typical one , particularly if the "throw is excessive)

  3. #3
    doc
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    forgot to add ..inless u breech one eccentrically, which i have done on a maynard SS, u wont be able to switch RF/CF.....
    best wishes,
    docn8as

    ps if u make up a 32-40 , i still have 3, 4 pound kegs of 4759 left over from schuetzen matches 30 yrs ago , that need a new home ...

  4. #4
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    Thanks for the opinion Doc!

    OK.. so I haven't thought the "switch barrel" part out real well yet

    The plans are $135 for the set... so I think I'd like to find someone who HAS 'em to see if they're really complete enough to FOLLOW and end up with an action you can use. Even though $135 wouldn't even pay for the steel in the parts of the actions, it's still a lot to spend without finding SOMEONE who's seen them.

    If I could find High Walls for $40, I'd buy 50 of 'em!
    Heck, if I could just find a nice one that hasn't had a pipe wrench applied to it for $400, I'd probably buy it...


    Paul F.

  5. #5
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    Uh Oh.. almost wish you hadn't mentioned the 4759....
    I'm currently falling in love with a pre-WWI single shot bolt action in 8.15x46R (darn close to a .32-40, only about .150" shorter in the case).

    5744 has been working very nicely so far, but I keep seeing 4759 mentioned for .32-40...

    Paul F.

  6. #6
    CLM
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    Paul, if your really interested in a high wall kit, shoot me an email at CLMercer@itlnet.net I do all the stock work for a company that sells basic kits and completed rifles. To finish out one of our high walls you will need access to a mill and lathe. You can fit your block and recess with a file if you can file straight. Or I can EDM the block recess for you. We provide detailed blueprints with all parts dimensioned. It takes me about 8 hours to get a working action from a kit. We also have many other single shots to choose from, with the Hepburn being the most popular.

    Chad

  7. #7
    MDSpencer is offline Aluminum
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    Is this company on line?

  8. #8
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    Email is on the way!

    I'm very interested... and I'll bet others here are too..
    From previous web searches, I can say that if you want an unfinished FAL or AR-15 reciever, you can take your pick from several, but I have never seen a web presence of anyone doing single-shots! Unless I'm just google-incompetant, that is..

    I look forward to hearing from you!
    (and I'm going through my gun safe for things to liquidate for some high-wall kits...)

    Paul F.

  9. #9
    wesg is offline Stainless
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    I bought the plans for the Ballard from Buffalo Arms. I then spent *hours* in AutoCad trying to fill in the blanks to get something useful to machine from. My opinion, based on drawings of this quality, is that you'd need to be a master toolmaker, a skilled draftsman, and still have to have an original in front of you to copy to be able to make one from them. Being a bit psychic would help too.

    As an example, if you know what the inside of a Ballard breechblock looks like, there are a number of circular cuts that could be easily made knowing the coordinates of the center and the radius. They're dimensioned by the intersection points of the ends of the arcs, and sticking some of those numbers into CAD will result in something that doesn't even resemble the drawing.

    They look to me like something done by a kid learning CAD, who's never even seen a milling machine, and has been handed a casting made off a rubber mold and a machinist's scale.

    No offense intended towards BA, they only sell them and I'm sure have never actually tried making anything from them. And it's always possible I happened to pick the worst of the plans they offer. But they'd look neat hanging on the wall of a den.
    Rrdstarr likes this.

  10. #10
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    Wesg;

    Thanks for the review! IF I decide to get 'em, I'll give them a thorough look-over before the return period is over.

    CLM's mostly-machined "kits" are seeming attractive... (don't know the price yet though...).

    Hmm.. you would happen to be the same WesG... that frequents the Smallbore Journal forum, are you? If so... Hi!

    Paul F.

  11. #11
    wesg is offline Stainless
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    Yep.

    Bear in mind I never gave these a serious look from the perspective of finishing a set of castings. They might be perfectly adequate for that. But there's a huge difference between shaping a receiver (and all the other bits and pieces) from a block vs cleaning up a casting with a file and emery cloth, and just needing to know where the screw holes go.

  12. #12
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    Oh, you betcha there is! That's another reason why was/am a bit daunted by DeHaas' book... there is a distinct lack of dimensions on some parts.

    And I have enough trouble visualizing from some of the drawings, so making stuff up as I go along is NOT real high on my list of ways to finish a project like that.

    I'd be far happier is CLM's casting kits work out well than starting from scratch, at least for the first one until I really learn my way around that particular design.

    Paul F.

    PS You shootin' the mini-palma postal?

  13. #13
    wesg is offline Stainless
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    Planning on it, but the way things went last time out I'd be better off spending the entry fee on cheap booze

    Something to think about, rimfire hiwalls are a major pain to load. It was common to cut one wall away for clearance. I'd look at doing a Stevens Favorite instead. I've got a couple that I need to rebuild as gifts for a friend's boys, and should probably make up a couple for my own nephews. Although the older one has my Ithaca 49, which my brother and I fought over for 30 years.

    If you wanted a combo rim/centerfire, the Stevens 44-1/2 would be a great choice. Well exposed breech for loading .22's, and the strength for a CF.

  14. #14
    CLM
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    Paul, you could do a 22 on one of these actions. There is no firing pin hole in the block. Just drill the fp hole where it would hit the rim instead of in the center. I have never put a 22 in one but just thinking about it I don't think it would be that hard.

    BTW we also cast the stevens 44 1/2

    Chad

  15. #15
    doc
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    Paul think i still have an 8.1x46 R military exterior barrel pulled from a mauser ....last time i looked ,the inside was mint ...
    the scheutzens i fooled with had bores from .312 to .322, all chambered for 8.1x46 ...since the bullet was seated ahead of the case ,es macht nichts ,BUT after making molds ,working up a lube & powder charge, none gave the accuracy of american custom barrelmakers of the time...pope,zischang ( in particular, ) & even factory maynards& ballards which were preferred to win. for accuracy ...at ASSRA matches they were absent from serious bench matches , but they sure felt nice offhand,& some were museum pieces, liberated after 1945.....long time ago !

    best wishes
    docn8as

    fwiw ...less than $ 20 gets u walter muellers step by step plans,photos a & texts for a falling block from village press (HSMachinist)also using ur mill as a hand slotter for mortise..he is a VERY picky guy ,judging from his writings

  16. #16
    wesg is offline Stainless
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    Refreshed my memory ... making a Favorite would be a major project. Lots of blind square cornered cuts at odd angles. Much easier to do it as a sideplate type.

  17. #17
    Tinker2 is offline Plastic
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    Smallbore Journal forum ?

  18. #18
    Paul F is offline Aluminum
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    The Smallbore Journal (formerly Florida Smallbore) is one of several competition shooting discussion boards part of the Shooters Journal web page.

    http://www.shootersjournal.com/

    Some great technical discussions!

    Paul F.

  19. #19
    zero is offline Senior Member
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    I have been building a Farquharson style action from castings I have about 230 hours into it. It is just at the point to begin polising.

  20. #20
    Tinker2 is offline Plastic
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    Paul F

    Thank for the link.

    I too am a single-shot fan.
    Good luck, keep us updated.

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