View Full Version : Jim Chambers Flintlocks
August 25, 2001, 12:30 AM
UPS delivered my Jim Chambers kit today. It was ordered from Jim during the National Match at Friendship, IN. Some money was saved when I supplied the blank for the stock (bought it from a wood dealer at Friendship for $25). Since I can make my own wood (or brass) patchbox lid, money was saved there too.
The kit is an Issac Haines southpaw rifle with a Getz 38" swamped barrel. While it costs more than kits from other manufacturers, the quality of the parts are commendable and you do pay for what you get. The brass castings are all very clean and while there is some sprue to cut off, polishing shouldn't take much time. Even the sideplate for this left hand gun is a genuine left handed sideplate. I tried placing the barrel in the channel and but for the breech in, the barrel practically falls right into it! Talk about good stock making.
There's a slight cast off on the stock and Jim explained that he puts it in all his kits. My first experience with cast-off was from examination of Hershel House's personal Southern Mountain Rifle. It shouldered quicker and less effort was required to gain the sights. It's definitely a plus for the kit.
So far 3 1/2 hours spent today inletting the breech & tang and it's almost done. About another 1/2 hour should be more than enough. The lock goes in next.
August 25, 2001, 04:12 PM
What exactly is a swamped bbl? I've often wondered.
Is cast off where the buttstock is bent AWAY from your face? I can't keep that straight. I know most of the Russian/Central European guns I've dealt with have that built in. The first time I saw that construction thought for a minute the wood was warped. :eek:
August 26, 2001, 10:54 AM
Swamped barrels are barrels which have a taper ground into it. It starts out normal from the breech end, tapers narrower towards the center, and then flares out when it gets near the muzzle. It saves weight yet maintains the pointability of the barrel.
Cast-off is where a stock is set at a slight angle. It starts around the wrist and goes a few degrees off to the left or right, depending on whether the shooter is left or right handed. What it does is brings the barrel more in centerline with the eye and requires less head tilting to acquire the sights. It's also faster to use than the normal straight stock.
BTW, fitting the breech took longer than anticipated. Lots of slow shaving and carbon paper was intially used to find the areas to be removed. Later used lamp black (alcohol lamp). Started fitting the buttplate yesterday and will finish it today.
August 28, 2001, 09:01 AM
Sounds like a lot of fun. You'll have to post some pics when its done.
August 28, 2001, 02:38 PM
Sounds real cool, Gary.
The cast-off refers to bent to one side. If it's bent to tother, it's cast-on. Can't remember which, but bet cast off is prolly the one for a righty where the stock is bent away from your face like most of the Central Euro guns I've handled lately.
Eagerly awaiting pix! Thanks!:cool:
August 29, 2001, 07:54 AM
Been considering a Chambers gun for my next project. Is the ramrod hole drilled for you? That is one thing that scares me as far as doing it myself (even with a drill press).
I am very interested in the amount of metal work you have to do also . . . let us know how much tricky stuff you have to do.
August 29, 2001, 03:43 PM
Yep, ramrod channel is drilled through.
BTW, two days ago I finished fitting the buttplate and began working on the lockplate. Lockplate was finished and the lock reassembled. It's almost completely inletted at this point and will probably take about one more hour to do. After the lock is installed, I can fit the trigger and trigger plate. A nifty feature about the lock is the bolster plate is actually casted separately and held onto the lock plate by two screws. If the pan ever wears, you can replace it (like modern pans wear at all when properly cleaned).
Point of order regarding buttplate - generally you attach the trigger and from the trigger, determine where to cut the stock for the buttplate. On the Chambers kit, the buttplate area has already been pre-cut. It still requires fitting but you're not given much to shorten. If you've got lanky arms, let Jim know when you order the kit. That way he can cut the stock longer for you.
September 2, 2001, 11:03 AM
Last night I polished the nosecap & thimbles (ramrod pipes) and partially inletted the thimbles. Found that they didn't fit the ramrod (too small or ramrod too large). Will write Jim and ask him if there was a mistake.
Also inletted the stock for the underlugs. The underlugs took a little time to fit. The Getz Barrel was pre-dovetailed which saves about 1 hour per dovetail. To do it by hand you use a hacksaw and saw a series of parallel lines across where the underlug is suppose to go. You then cross cut it with the hacksaw. Once most of the metal is removed, you file it with a triangular file which has one side ground down for a safe edge. BTW, the front sight dovetail was also milled. This leaves only the rear sight to be done by hand and that makes sense since you place it where it fits your eye. For inletting, I used a Japanese 0.5 mm chisel. Having chisels that size really comes in handy.
The night before I finished inletting the lock. It now sits even on the surface. Started polishing the trigger and will try fitting it along with the trigger plate sometime this week.
September 9, 2001, 09:55 AM
Finished inletting all the thimbles/pipes including the entry thimbles/pipes. Being slow, total process takes a bit over an hour for each thimble/pipe. Afterwards the triggerguard was filed and sanded. Since this is all handwork, it took about two hours.
Turned to the sideplate and found that the sideplate and the lock won't mate when the bolts are inserted. Solution was simple enough: make a new sideplate. Started the process last night and drilled out the plate. The bolts pass through and line up perfectly with the lock. Tonight will be spent hacking out and filing the sideplate into shape.
Jim emailed me and advised that the ramrod wood is thicker than required and needs to be shaved down to fit the thimbles/pipes.
September 9, 2001, 02:43 PM
Wow, sounds like quite a project. Nice going Gary!
I built a CVA Mountain Rifle back in 84 that didn't have as much work as you're describing but there were a few glitches in fitting as I remember. The real joy is when you fire that baby and see the fruit of your labors.
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