Any plans for building a falling block rifle ?
I would like to built my own rifle ( except the cannon, for safety reasons and because I don't have the right tooling for this job ) and tought the falling block action would be a nice mecanisme to build. Does anyone have some source of information on this mecanisme or any plans aviable (books or something) to help me?
How about "Building a Single-Shot, Falling-Block Rifle Action" by Walter Mueller. Available from Village Press Publications for $16.00.
Thanks for the advise, I just bought it from amazon
That was the only source of info a found before asking for help here.
I didn't receive it yet but I cannot whait since there was no thumbnails of the content of the book, it will be a suprise...
I once bought a book named Gunsmithing, it has over 700 pages, but it doesn't realy help you with the building of a fire arm from scratch, it mainly shows what can be done after to a fire arm. That's why I now hesitate to buy books without having a look inside before.
Build a Farquharson single shot rifle from a kit?
You might want to look at www.actioncastings.us. They advertise a kit falling block action that requires what appear to be basic machining steps to assemble.
If you find actual plans, please let me know.
I am currently in process of building a Winchester Hi Wall from Frontier Armory castings.
They also offer drawings for several actions which are available separately. The castings are of excellent quality, and much of the work can be accomplished with hand tools. There will be some size variation compared to an actual action, but it is of little consequence in building a one off action.
There is also the de Haas "Mr. Single Shot's Book of Rifle Plans". This has several actions that can be built with common shop tools. The Vault Lock is not a beauty, but it is a good, solid action and capable of handling most available cartridges. There are two other actions that are more attractive, but for smaller cartridges. It is a good book, and an action can be built from the information.
In addition, all of the de Haas books on single shots have drawings and breakdowns of the various actions. They are all quite informative.
The de Haas books are available from Brownells and other sources.
There are several plans available for single shot rifles from Buffalo Arms and kits of castings from other sources already mentioned. What you choose to make really depends on your machining skill and what machines you have available or have access too.
I'm busy building a copy of a Sharps Borchardt 1878 'Long Range' rifle. No kits or castings for me, just billets of solid steel of the correct specification.
All I have at home is a small X2 Mill and a 7x10 bench lathe. This will do all the work on an action you will need, but not barrel work. I had the action profiled to outline shape and the breech block slot cut by a local EDM shop other than that all the rest is my work on the action body. I've still a way to go yet, but it's progressing steadily. See:-
There's four pages of pictures. Not all the pics are good, I'm no photographer. lol. Click on any picture to enlarge it and then the back key to return to the other photographs.
Every action will present some machining problems, it will be up to you to work around them.
I could really have done with a vertical slotting machine, it would have saved me a lot of time and trouble, but I haven't the space or the finances.
Completed Mueller Falling Block& Stock
Maxime, I just completed a mueller falling Block Rifle and stock in mid november.
All the work was accomplished using a 9'' south bend lathe and a 8x36 Grizzly vertical Mill
That would include the rectangular opening in the receiver for the breech block. One of
the more labor intensive operations on the action.
Just as Harry Eales mentioned a vertical slotting machine or shaper would have saved a
lot of hand cranking with a single point tool to accomplish the task.
This project took me just over 2 years to complete, that would include fixtures , barrel
wrench, spider for chambering, adjustable center for the tailstock and a spring loaded
slotting tool holder used in the vertical mill for the breech opening.
I followed Walter Mueller's drawings to the letter, I did not follow his machining
procedures at all times. Having 40+ years of machining experience I sometimes found an
easier way. The drawings and illustrations are complete and you would have little difficulty
interperting them. The receiver and breech block are made of 4140 alloy steel, the
remainder of the action is 0-1 oil hardening tool steel. All hardened and tempered to 48-50
Rc After much consideration I decided to have everything Vacuum hardened and tempered
Resulting in less distortion and retaining a bright finish. This was done at Solar Atmospheres
in Hermitage pa. This was a no brainer for me, the local heatreating shops were a little leary
about heatreating finished parts especially 4140 . It cost about twice as much but I had
alot of time invested at that point.
Walter Mueller goes into great detail and calculations on acceptable pressures for this
action , His caliber choice was 225 winchester , Why this caliber, first of all the
cartridge has to be rimmed to accomodate his extractor design secondly Mr. Mueller is not
a hunter but spends his time target shooting . I on the other hand like to hunt, so I chose
A rimmed European favorite the 7x57r mauser. Using this caliber I felt I could safely stay
below 50,000 cup as Mr. Mueller strongly suggests .
I've covered some detail here, but I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. I will include some pictures in another post as I've been told I submitted too many Patience and Persistence Good Luck J.C.
Pictures of Mueller Falling Block
Here are 4 of the Pic's I mentioned on the previous Post. J.C.
>All I have at home is a small X2 Mill and a 7x10 bench lathe. This >will do all the work on an action you will need, but not barrel work. >I had the action profiled to outline shape and the breech block slot >cut by a local EDM shop other than that all the rest is my work on >the action body.
It has been said that using the EDM process for making breech block slots is not acceptable due to the risk of cracks coming from the recast layer or HAZ inherant to the EDM process.
It has been said that using the EDM process for making breech block slots is not acceptable due to the risk of cracks coming from the recast layer or HAZ inherant to the EDM process.[/QUOTE]
That's interesting Tony, you haven't any web references I can look up have you?
I'm not the first and probably not the last to have a breechblock slot cut by EDM and I know of at least one small scale commercial manufacturer that is doing just that. His rifles are shooting cartridges of much higher pressure than I will get from a 45/90 Black Powder round.
My own rifle will have to go through an English 'Proof House' for testing, before I can legally use it.
I know of several Winchester single shot 'Low Walls' that have cracked due to the use of HP rounds. Their breechblock slots were cut by a shaper.
You cam look at this reference about a company that EDM's chambers
and the following newsgroup discussion that I copied here. If you want the entire thread:
I would guess the suitability of using EDM for burning parts would be based on the sophistication of your EDM power supply/generator, and it's ability to minimize recast layer,, and then you would need to lap/grind out the layer to remove it and any microcracks.
Here's something that isn't in the article, but it should be. They talk
about the recast layer of 0.0001", and about lapping it off. That's all well and good. If the barrel is made of, say, 4140, the recast layer is going to be harder than a witch's heart, and just as brittle. Or, maybe not, if some of the latest fine-finishing circuitry is used. But it probably will be. And it probably will have microcracks in it. Possibly not, but probably so. If the EDM is more than a decade old, most likely so.
The problem is that the microcracks may extend well below the recast layer, into the heat-affected zone (HAZ) and even into the parent metal. Avoiding that is a matter of having good knowledge of the process and good knowledge of the way to avoid it -- if you can -- with your particular EDM. This subject is a critical one with guns and it requires some long talks with the top engineers at your EDM company, and probably some further research.
As of 25 years ago, the mil spec for military gun manufacture specifically disallowed any use of EDM, for that reason. I researched the subject myself. A gunsmith who wanted to use EDM for custom chambering was corresponding with me about it (I was EDM editor at _American Machinist_ at the time), and we both got scared off by what we learned. Later, in the early '90s, I had some discussion with Greg Langenhorst at Mitsubishi about their new ultra-fine-finish circuitry and it sounded to me like they had the problem
All this being said, the 'smith who's doing this work sounds like he knows his stuff, whether or not he knows the underlying physics. The T/C is a pretty strong affair; 4140 (if that's what it is) is pretty forgiving; and the whole thing is a matter of being very cautious, to begin with.
I was very interested at the time in using wire EDM to hake the rectangular hole in a falling-block receiver, and I had worked out what I considered to be a safe procedure, lapping out 0.004" per side after EDMing. But I never had one made, so that was the end of it for me.
It does sound like he has something very good going here, and EDM is going to find its way into some kind of precision gun manufacture, if it hasn't already. You just have to be aware of what's going on (melting versus "burning," for example), and you have to dig into it pretty deeply before taking the leap. In other words, don't try this at home until you really know what's what.
Originally Posted by tonystoolroom
Thanks for the references, I'll read and digest them with more than just a little interest.
the Breechblock slot on my Borchardt copy was cut on a machine that was less than six months old, and at a very slow (1" per hour) speed. I'll discuss the technicalities with the EDM operator, who is very approachable and ever helpful with technical advice.
I won't be trying it at home, that sort of machinery is well beyond the ability of my pension grade to be able to afford it. Thanks for the 'Heads up' it is very much appreciated.