I received the Lee Shaver sights and I'm installing the front
globe sight first. I measured the dovetail ways in my Miroku
Badger barrel and it seemed to be pretty close to .375 as I
could measure using my digital calipers. The Lee Shaver
dovetail came in at about .390 so it was too large although a
note included with the sight said that it might actually be too
small for the Miroku manufactured Winchester and that it was
recommended to glue it in with some red Locktite. Luckily
that was not the case for my barrel.
the first thing that needed to be done was the dovetail had to
be made smaller so that it would go into the dovetail ways on
the barrel about a quarter way with finger pressure only.
You should always install dovetails
from right to left when looking from the
shooters vantage point or left to right when
looking at the end of the muzzle
To reduce the size I got out a flat file and put it between a couple of
dogs on on my bench and began pulling the bottom of the dovetail
over the file. Do not exert a lot of pressure here but
just enough so that you can feel the file biting. Because
I know my sight was big I pulled the dovetail across its length 10 times, then reversed it
and pulled it again another 10 times. You want to pull it over
the file the same number of times in each direction so that you get even
machining. I had to do probably 6 repetitions of 10 pulls
each way before I could feel it getting close. Once I got
close I reduced it to 5 each way between fit checks.
Here you can see the bottom of the dovetail which is being
pulled across the file. As we remove material from the
bottom of the dovetail the width of the dovetail gets narrower
which is what we are after. We want to remove just enough
material so that you can press the sight into the dovetail about
a quarter of it's length. Once we can do that, remove the
sight and use some cold bluing to preserve the metal. I
used my Birchwood Casey touch up pen.
we have the dovetail at the proper size it's
time to install it. One thing I didn't
mention earlier is that you should remove any
levels that may be installed on the sight so
that you don't break them or separate the bubble
while you're working.
You should always install dovetails
from right to left when looking from the
shooters vantage point or left to right when
looking at the end of the muzzle
Here you can see me using a wooden dowel to tap
the sight into the ways.
The Soule rear sight went on effortlessly and of
great relief to me my eyes are able to get sharp
Spent a half hour and made a simple gun vise. This was
long overdue. Very simple and basic construction. A
base board, a wood screw clamp, some scraps and some rubber to
line the contact points.
I'm having some problems chambering the rounds I'm making.
I am not sure if it is because of fouling, bullet, or COAL.
I did get to shoot some rounds today at 80yards which is about
the longest I can do in my back yard. The day was cold,
windy and dark. The target on the below is 6 shots of 65gr
of KIK 2f, compressed about .140 with an over powder card,
Winchester Large Pistol Primer seated with copy paper, new,
sized W-W brass and Lyman Postell bullet....blowing
between shots. I'm pretty happy with this mostly because I
am just learning how to shoot and have maybe 25 rounds under my
belt. I'm pretty sure the two hits to the upper right have
more to do with me pulling the rifle than the gun or the load.
This next target is with 67gr of powder compressed about .180.
At this point my hands were cold from fighting with thw bullets
and trying to get them to chamber so I quit after 3. Again
I'm pretty happy cuz I was on the black even with everything
else going on.
Well, I need to order some bullets as the ones I bought are not
the right size for my barrel. So in my down time I figured I'd
make some shooting sticks. I grabbed a piece of walnut I had
laying around and sliced it up into 2" wide boards. I cut the
longer sticks for shooting while either sitting or the ground or
on a stool. I "guessed" that 40" was the proper length, I know
that is more than long enough for sitting on the ground and
should be long enough for sitting on a stool, only time will
tell. The shorter ones are 21" long and are for shooting
prone. I used contact cement to glue some leather inside the
"V" to protect the barrel and added some large nails as spikes.
So far the spikes work very well but the ground is soft with the
coming of spring.
thought what I did for the nut was a good idea so let me show it
to you. I took a 2" hole saw and cut a hole in the project
scrap and used the "hole" to form a nut. I drilled two
3/16 holes in the nut and banged in dowels and cut them off.
The dowels align with the slot and keep the nut from spinning so
that only one hand is needed to loosen/tighten the knob for
I made a best rest base for my prone shooting sticks. the
only modification to the sticks was a 1/4" hole through the top
of each stick about a 1-1/2? from the end. the sticks are
then flipped 180° and inserted onto the pivot bolt in the rest
base. A knob at each pivot point locks the assembly at the
desired height. I couldn't see the for making an idenical
se of sticks just for this purpose.
Wire nuts are there to protect me accidental acupuncture caused
by the pointy end of the spikes.
The size of the base is based solely on the dimensions of the
one scrap board I used to make it. If I were to do it over
again I would line them with felt rather than leather and maybe make the end pieces 8 or 10"
long instead of the 5-3/4 that the material allowed.
By the way the credit for the basic design of these sticks comes
I have my bullets on order from
Montana Bullet Works
. I ordered Postell 535gr and
Saeco 645's in 480gr. The Postell's I got from Slim are
just too large in the nose (diameter) to seat out although I
have been seating them deeper getting about 1/8" of etching by
the lands, which is fine, but it results in difficult chambering
at times to the point I will need a
Camming Seating Tool
to get those rounds chambered.
These bullets were seated to the first driving band and actually
go in the chamber pretty easily as long as the rifle hasn't
been fired, but once it's fired some are impossible to chamber
without a cam.
Here you can see where the bullet meets the lands. Some
can be seated with minimal thumb pressure but others cant.
Here's the compromise I came up with which gives me a COL of
2.700 with 70gr of KIK 2f compressed .333". Some bullets
still need extra coaxing to chamber but I have about 200 of this
batch still to shoot.
received my new bullets but haven't shot them yet. The Postell's
measure a diameter in front of the driving band of .446-7 (old
bullet was .4515) so they slid in right up to the driving band.
I used the following procedure to determine Extended COAL of
• Drop the bullet into the chamber and tap the base with the
eraser of a pencil
• Using a caliper, measure from the base of the seated bullet to
the rim of the chamber (A)
• Measure the length of the bullet...B
• A + B = C C = Extended COAL of the round
• Determine seated depth of the bullet in the case (D) by
subtracting B from the case length (2.1" for a 45/70)
A = 1.518
B = 1.417
C = 2.935 COAL
D = .582
70gr KIK 2f = .118 compression at max COAL
The loaded round is at the right.
The Saeco 645 measures out to
a = 1.612
B = 1.244
C = 2.856
D = .488
70gr KIK 2f compression = .021 at max COAL
Here are the Saeco 645, 480gr bullet (left) and the Lyman
Postell, 535gr bullet (right) loaded over 70 gr of 2f KIK (by
weight). Both bullets are seated to achieve a COAL of
about .020 under the max COAL for each bullet.
long as we're talking about the bullets here's my Drop Tube
w/vibration to help settle the powder. The tube is made
from 3/8" diameter brass tubing cut to 24" in length
and fitted a Lee funnel to the top. I
then ripped some scrap 1/2" plywood to make the stand and
attached the tube using some brass cup hooks that I bent to
create an eye bolt. A couple of o-rings are used to set
the height of the tube. I then took a $5 Wal-Mart aquarium
pump and screwed it to the base of the drop tube. The pump
when plugged in provides a good amount of vibration.
My method for loading this case is to fill up the powder measure
with a Lee dipper and drop it into my drop tube. The powder
get's vibrated until I get another load ready at which time I
take the case off the drop tube and insert a card wad.
After that I place another case on the tube and repeat. I give
each case about the same amount of time for vibration using the
process of filling the measure as the gauge.
By the way, that's a
Thompson Center U-View plastic powder measure
front of the digital scale at right. I found that it will
drop within +/- 0.1 grain so I don't have to use the scale for
weighing the powder except for determining the initial charge
size. The volumetric measure of the powder measure is
about 5 grains higher than the actual weight of the KIK powder
I'm using. (75gr on the measure is about 70gr by weight).
Next I needed a scope because it was painful shooting in my back
yard and walking 240' each way after every shot to see where it
hit. One can easily spend more for a scope than you spent
on the gun and I certainly wasn't going to do that. My
rational was that I will need a scope for 100-300 yards which
are the longest ranges I will have to shoot locally. If I
every go to a match I'm sure there will be spotters available
with better scopes if needed. So I did some internet
research and settled on the Konus
Konuspot-100 4.0"/100mm Spotting Scope Kit and purchased it
from BH Photo because they had the least expensive price by
about $75 of anyone and I've done plenty of business with them
in the past.
Picture at right shows the Konus 100 sitting on a Giottos tripod
and ball head. That is a professional grade photo tripod
which will work great with the spotting scope. I tried the
Konus at about 150 yards and could see the splatter target like
it was right in front of me so provided the optics don't fall
off drastically I should easily be able to see the hits on the
splatter target at 300 yards. The paper target (see the
targets pictured above) was more difficult because the bullet
holes were black on black. I saw the hole in the white
fine but could barely make out the holes on the black though I
could easily see the break in the white ring between 7 and 8.
So far I'm pretty happy with the purchase.
I did receive the loading tool from
. Unlike the more expensive tool
(better made) from
, the Sage Outfitters tool did not have the
relief for over the primer pocket. Probably not a big deal
but I wanted one so I took a round file and cut the relief
myself (pic left lower) and it works fine.
More stuff. I wanted to try wiping between shots as an
alternative to my blow tube so I purchased a Derlin wiping rod
with integral jag designed to have a good fit with the Dave
Maurer Arsenal patches. The patches are 2" round and are made
of some form of paper. They are supposed to not stick together
when wet so you can have a stack of them pre moistened with your
favorite wiping solution (I'm going to try a 50/50 mix of Dex-Cool
antifreeze and water). Just put a wet patch on the jag,
push it through and it falls off when it exits the barrel and
you retract the cleaning rod.
Here you can see the size of the rod in my 30" barrel.
forgot to mention the Delrin Cleaning Jag I bought from
. It is design for a tight fit so to
force the patch into the grooves to better remove lead and
fouling. In the first picture you can see the 45 caliber
delrin jag next to a traditional 45 cal brass jag, notice that
the delrin jag is larger, .408 in diameter to be exact.
This means that you will likely not be able to just push your
rod down your barrel as it will be too tight. The
compressibility of the delrin really shoves the patch into the
grooves and you will likely need to tap your rod with a hammer
to push it through your barrel. I start with a short
section and then add a section to it as I need until it's
through the barrel. I think it works great. (sorry, too
lazy to grab the tripod for this shot)
I purchased a tumbler from Harbor Fright, couldn't
resist the $39 price tag, as well as some
ceramic media from Sage Outfitters
. Here are pictures
of the machine and media of the media.
are a couple of pics to show you how much brass you can clean at
one time in the dual tumbler, as well as how clean they come
out. The photo at left shows the two 3lb tumbler barrels
each with a pound and a half of media. I can clean sixty
45 colt cases in each barrel or as pictured, seventy (35 each
barrel) pieces of 45/70 brass. notice how both the insides
and primer pockets are cleaned. All this brass has been
shot 2-3 times and all of it annealed before this last
firing/cleaning. This has been a great investment, $39 for
the tumbler and $35 for the media. With my vibratory
tumbler I find that almost every 45/70 primer hole has a piece
of media stuck in it so I was cleaning with the primers still
in. Now I can decap and get the entire case clean without
worrying about the primer holes.
Went out in the back yard this morning and shot off 10 rounds
loaded with 70 gr by volume of KIK 2f, compressed .110, .025
card wad and a MBW 535gr Postell. I threw out the bad
readings. Also, I wiped with a 50/50 mix of Dex-Cool antifreeze
and water between every shot....I think I like that better than
the blow tube.
Beta Master Shooting Chrony
I set it up about 10' in front
of my barrel and even though it was a grey sky I used the
diffusers. There were three shots which were obviously
incorrectly recorded so I thew them out. While the Beta
Master Chrony will calculate standard Deviation, hi, low and
average speeds if you get an error in your data there is no way
to deletes the erroneous data so I had to copy the data to paper
and do the calculation myself.
fps = 1123,1134,1121,1146,1116,1110,1133
std dev = 12.26687
I shot a small sample of my new loads which have 70gr by
weight as opposed to 70gr by volume. This amounts to about
5 more grains by volume than previously loaded.
My small sample averaged out at 1182fps for the 535gr Postells
and 1186gr for the 480gr Saeco's.
Here's the group at 80 yards with the new bullets. I'm
pretty happy with it considering I was sitting in a chair using
my bench sticks clamped in my B&D Workmate. I could feel
that I wasn't comfortable or steady so that explains the fliers.
The Winchester/Browning BPCR's come with about a 5 pound trigger
pull which I found too heavy.
Lee Shaver Gunsmithing
offers a trigger job for $35 which will result in a 1.5-2lb
pull. The sear is stoned to a new angle and a lighter
trigger spring is supplied. I disassembled my rifle and
mailed off the trigger and check to Lee, he received it on a
Friday and must have done the work and mailed it out the same
day because I received my trigger back on the following Monday.
So he had it and returned it to my doorstep in two
working days, one of which was a Saturday. Pretty
So here's a pictorial explanation of how to perform the upgrade.
Tools: Along with your normal gunsmithing tool set you
will need a 8" or longer flat blade screwdriver with at least a
5/16 head. I used a
with a 3/8" blade and it worked perfectly
and did not bugger up the screw. You may also need a small
punch. I used a blunted finish nail but to be honest one
could use a ball point pen as the pin is not a press fit.
First, remove any tang mounted sight. You will have to
remove one screw from the tang. When the stock is removed
you can screw this screw back into the stock insert so it
doesn't get lost.
Next you can remove the butt plate. These screws are wood screws
and screw directly into the wood stock.
Using the 8" flat blade driver, insert it into the hole in the
butt of the gun being careful to insure that you get the blade
in the slot and not wedged between the screw and the hole in the
butt or you may split the stock
. Turn counterclockwise (lefty loosy :)) and unscrew
the bolt. It does not take a lot of force to break the
Here's the removed bolt. With both this and the tang screw
removed the stock can be removed.
Now the good stuff.. All you need to do is remove the
trigger pin and pull out the trigger. Use a small pin,
nail or even a pen to push the pin out. It is a loose fit.
Grasp and wiggle the trigger while pushing the pin and it will
push right out. Then grab the pin with your fingers and
pull it out completely.
Once the pin is out you can pull the trigger right out of the
mechanism. There is a coil spring which sits around the
adjuster screw, remove that as well and save it. You will
get a new spring when Lee Shaver returns your trigger which you
will insert and use.
In the picture at right you see the trigger, trigger pin,
original coil spring (black, thick coil) and the new lighter
coil from Lee Shaver. If you decide that the trigger is
too light after you get it back you can use the OEM trigger
spring and bump the pull up about a pound.
Upon reassembly, install the new coil over the trigger adjuster
screw and then insert the trigger into it's location and insert
the trigger pin.
The new Lee Shaver worked trigger and trigger spring are now
installed and we're ready to reinstall the stock. To
install the stock just reverse what we did to remove it.
This whole operation is very simple and removing the trigger,
and then reinstalling takes all of 10 minutes each.
I measured the trigger pull and it is just about 2 pounds and
the release is nice and crisp. I'm a happy camper.
Later that same day...
I did get to shoot at the 80 yard target off hand just before
dusk. The trigger certainly makes hitting the target whilst the
barrel is sweeping through it a lot easier. I was a tiny bit
out of breath from running to get everything set up before it
got too dark and I still hit the black (albeit a large black) 4
out of 4 times. I'm happy with the way the trigger feels.
I wanted to get in a little time on my new trigger so I set up a
target I downloaded from the
Long Range BPCR website
. It is an 800 yard target
scaled down for use at 100 yards. I used it at 80 so I
guess it was a little big but it was still pretty small at 5.5"
of black. I didn't bother to change the front sight insert
but I know I would have benefited from that as the black was
very small and left a lot of white between it and the round
insert I was using.
I also wanted to shoot all my old bullets and test loads which
is what I did. I took 11 shots. The flier to the far
right was the fouling shot and the two fliers to the left I knew
when I pulled the trigger that I yanked the rifle. The
rest seemed to hit in the same ragged group hole so I'm pretty
happy with how both my trigger and I handled the test. I
shot sitting on a 8" tall stool using my cross sticks and a blow
tube between shots. Temp was 40.0 °F wind SSW 4.6mph and 47%
humidity. I was shooting north.
I decided it was time to try my hand at annealing. There
are lots of good links on the net with instructions so I won't
repeat them here but I used the air cooled method rather than
dropping the hot cases in cold water. It gives the same
result and you don't have to dry the cases. I had the
torch and drill so all I needed was something to spin my cases.
I looked around my shop and located some items I was pretty sure
would do the job.
First I took about an inch and a half off a piece of 3/4" copper
pipe I had laying around. At first I thought I was going
to saw some tabs in the pipe and fold them over to form the base
but I got the idea to try to find something to stick into the
pipe to form the base. I first thought of using wood which
I think would have worked since the case holder wasn't ever
going to get all that hot but then I spied a nut which I thought
would make a good fit.
I had to take a little material off the corners with my grinder
but before long I was able to pound it into the pipe.
I searched for the rest of the parts to finish up the holder.
I decided on a 4" carriage bolt and associated nut and washers.
The bolt slipped through the hole in the larger nut and I
tightened everything up.
You can see the finished product at right. Brass is nicely
annealed. The holder worked just like it was supposed to
and was made from scraps and on hand hardware. You don't
have to make one exactly like mine but my point is that if you
have a workshop you likely have "stuff" laying around which will
work for you.
I annealed all my fired brass and a bag of
50 brand new cases. My method of stress relieving is to
use my case holder and rotate it in a hand drill at a slow speed
over a flame generated by a propane torch. When I see the
color change a bit over about the last 1/2" of the case I remove
it from flame and drop onto a cookie sheet. I aim the
flame about 3/8" down from the end of the case. My intent
is to heat the brass until it just turns color and no more.
You will also notice that I don't quench the brass but rather
air dry it. Brass does not need to be quenched like steel
does. Not quenching means I can start loading it as soon
as it cools.
As I mentioned before there's lots of good web sources for case
preparation and one good source I've located is the
Angeles Silhouette Club
, which is where I pulled some of my
data for my annealing process.
A morning at the range 3/22/12
I had a pretty disappointing morning at the range yesterday. I
brought my rifle and 25 rounds each of 70gr KIK 2f loaded
with MBW 45132 Postell and Saeco 645. You might remember
that my rifle was pretty well locked onto the target at 80
yards. I stapled up targets at 100 and 200 yards.
Problem number 1, I'm still not comfortable with my tang sight
adjustments. It took me probably 10 rounds of Postells to get it
acceptable and I could not get a good group. In retrospect
I probably should have pushed a wet patch or two through the
barrel at this point but I didn't until about round 30.
Next I tried the Saeco....not even hitting the paper. Not sure
what was wrong, once I got finally got a couple hit hit the
black I decided to move on to the 200yd target before I ran out
problem number 2, I should have had a spotter. I incremented the
vernier about .125" which I was told would get me in the
ballpark and shot a half dozen rounds, making little adjustments
here and there and no paper. I had no idea where I was and
nobody around to help me see where I was going. I probably
missed the paper 20 times or more.
Next time I'm bringing a large piece of cardboard to tack up so
I can see where my hits are.
I adjusted my stance to that I had a very solid hold. Used my
bench sticks and my elbows on the bench. Still not much luck.
One would have thought I never shot before. I was pretty bummed
and my shoulder was sore. I fired my last 2 shots at a very
large gong at 200yrds and missed, packed my bags and went home.
My barrel cleaned up well and there was no leading so I cant
blame the rifle. The Postells seemed to work way better than the
Saeco's though not anywhere close to what I was doing at 80yrds.
I only have 25 bullets left and MBW is out of Postells for a few
weeks so I'll just lick my wounds and shoot in the back yard for
a couple of weeks until I'm restocked.
I have a
PAST 1/2" shoulder pad
coming, more bullets, 10lbs of
KIK (today) and a
shooting pad from Midway
sale for $49). My next outing will
use the prone sticks and pad so I have a stable hold and see
Also just received the
Boonie Packer Chamber Checker Safety Flag
All the pictures of the product on the web depict these as being
flimsy, cheap pieces of plastic, and for just over a buck each I
can see where one might come to that conclusion....but they are
substantial, work great and are definitely not chincy. The
photo at left shows me inserting the curved stem into the
chamber, the curvature of the long stem is what keeps the flag
in your chamber. To the right is the flag seated in my
chamber. As you can see by the one I'm holding, there is a
lot of material in these $1.50 (5/$5.99) flags. You can
find these on Amazon as well but the price ranges from
inexpensive to way overpriced. I think Midway has the best
deal if you can add them to a current order.
Shooting mat and pad
I havent thought much about shooting this
week as I was on a business trip but I did come
home to my MidwayUSA shooting mat and my PAST
The foam in each is 1/2″ and feels like the
closed cell type but I cant be sure. The
shoulder pad may not fit a large or
“full-figured” person as it just fits me and
though I am overweight I am small in stature.
The MidwayUSA shooting mat is moderately well
made. The material both top and bottom is
fairly robust with the bottom black material
having some waterproofing added. The olive
drab top seems well made and with good size
anti-skid areas. The anti-skid does not
seem to be sticky though it was only 40° when I
had it outside. I was going to rate the
stitching as fair to poor in some places where
it seemed that the bottom thread from the bobbin
was not feeding properly but upon closer
inspection those areas are where stitching was
stopped and started and those were areas of
overlap. The thread thickness seems a bit
undersized for this application. We will
have to see how that affects durability.
I’ll rate the stitching as fair.
There is a pocket in the front flap where you
could store a notebook or as I will do, store
six metal wire stakes to be used through the six
grommets to secure the mat to the ground.
The mat is very large as compared to some twice
Based on value I would rate this mat at $49 a
7 out of 10 but if I didn’t take its price into
consideration the stitching would drop it to a
5 out of 10 because I do believe that some areas
of stitching will prematurely fail.