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Old August 5, 2013, 05:57 AM   #1
Doc Hoy
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Might as well go ahead and start...

I began work on the trapdoor that I purchased at the GS .

In the way of background this thing (loving reference) started life as a rifle in 1882. SN is 18 then two unreadable digits but I think they are 55 and then 21. Keith at Trapdoors Galore does not have a listing for the rifle. The last listing (184XXX) before this rifle went to North Carolina. The one after it (187XXX) went to Oregon.

I am sure the thing I bought (paid 60 bucks) is a combination of parts from different origins. It has a base for a Buffington sight, but the original rifle was shipped with the short sight. Removing the sight base reveals a weathering pattern on the barrel from the original sight.

It has a rifle trigger guard.

The stock which is actually in quite good condition was cut off less than two inches in front of the lower barrel band. The barrel band spring is missing.

The barrel is from a rifle hence it is just over 32 inches in length. The bore is best described as poor to fair. The front sight blade, thumb latch cam and spring, and the extractor plunger and spring are all missing. The extractor is broken. The barrel band is one which was made from a section of brass pipe as the original is missing.

The trigger guard, butt plate, and barrel are weathered as though they came from a common origin. The lock appears to be less weathered.

The tumbler works as a two position tumbler. Two position tumblers are out there but I think this is not one of them. I think it has a worn half cock detent.

My plan for the thing is to turn it into a cavalry model carbine.

This will be my third conversion.

The operations have essentially three areas. 1. The stock, 2. The receiver, and 3. The peripherals including trigger guard, sight and such.

For the stock, I will extend the fore arm as I did on the 44XXXX serial Trapdoor. I will inlet the left side of the stock for a saddle ring and rail. I will make the saddle ring and rail and then refinish the stock to the point where the patina of the stock matches that of the metal of the rifle.

For the receiver I will make a firing pin and just buy the missing parts.

For the peripherals I will modify the existing trigger guard to match the carbine contours. (This will be an experiment.) I will buy the barrel band and sight. I will talk to Al Frasca about finishing out the Buffington sight rather than abandoning the Buffington base in favor of the sorter sight. More thought will go into that.

If this conversion is unsuccessful I will simply part out the thing and hope I get more than sixty buck for the parts.
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Old August 5, 2013, 06:08 AM   #2
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Cut and crowned the barrel

On previous conversions, the process of shortening the barrel eliminated much of the age damaged barrel. On this rifle, the damage extends into the segment of the barrel which will remain after the shortening process.



I somehow missed the photo of the shortened barrel. I'll post it later.

Also started on the replacement sight.







I am sure that to an accomplished machinist, my techniques look primitive and odd.
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Old August 5, 2013, 09:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Doc Hoy wrote:
"I am sure that to an accomplished machinist, my techniques look primitive and odd."
Hey Doc, I'm the same way. Whatever works is my motto.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old August 5, 2013, 10:02 AM   #4
4V50 Gary
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There is no right way. I asked a classmate/machinist about making a hand (Colt Official Police) and he had a different approach from the one I started with (I drilled the pivot pin hole first so I had a point of reference). So long as the part is made is all that counts.
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Old August 5, 2013, 11:34 AM   #5
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The sight is giving me fits

More later.
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Old August 5, 2013, 01:30 PM   #6
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Gary, I did the same thing for the same reason. Most of the other areas can be worked on slowly and adjusted, but you can't move a hole once it is drilled.

Jim
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Old August 6, 2013, 07:57 AM   #7
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In my case, it comes from...

...A complete lack of training.

I bought a lathe and milling machine and just started fiddling.

So I make mistakes with holding the work piece in place. I have no clue about speed of advance, turning speed and such.

I have gotten pretty good at making the lathe tools, but that was by trial and error, and error, and error.

I have to think and plan a long time to get the sequence of operations down when I am trying to make a part. What cuts to make, when.

I know absolutely zero about heat treating.
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Old August 6, 2013, 08:04 AM   #8
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Just bought

The rear sight plus some screws, the thumb latch and cam, and a screw for the hammer.

I opted for a Buffington sight which took the cost up by about thirty bucks.

I'll prolly use the Buffington on a carbine I will keep. I will put the carbine sight I already have on this one. It'll be a closer approximation of a carbine if I do it that way. Potential buyer will have less to criticize.

144.00 delivered.

Al Frasca rocks!

I have my eye on an extractor plus spring and plunger as well as a barrel band on the evil bay. I am hoping to save some money on these parts.

Photos when these things arrive or when I get the front sight the way I want it.
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Old August 6, 2013, 09:02 AM   #9
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Lost the barrel band to an outbid.

I'll give up and buy that from Al.
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Old August 6, 2013, 07:26 PM   #10
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Trashed the sight I started

The sight a made which I showed in the last post just was not working out. So I started from scratch.



Here is the cut down barrel.



I was outbid on the extractor too. More stuff from Al.
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Old August 6, 2013, 09:23 PM   #11
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Great pictures and information. eBay can drive you crazy.

TK
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Old August 7, 2013, 12:47 AM   #12
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Enjoying following your progress Doc, as always.



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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old August 7, 2013, 09:22 AM   #13
Doc Hoy
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Here is the problem....

...with the tumbler.

Much more obvious when the thing is disassembled.

Old tumbler is on the right. New tumbler (Thanks a lot TK) is on the left with the bridle installed and ready to go back into the lock.






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Old August 7, 2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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Update on serial number

The digit I thought was a "1" is actually a "4". So the serial number is definitely 485521. This means it was made in 1890.

Tnx,
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Old August 7, 2013, 09:53 AM   #15
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When I pulled the rifle apart

...and now that I know what to look for, I found the two bits of metal which were missing from the tumbler embedded in the wood inside the stock.

When I put the lock back into the rifle, I found that the stock was machined in a way that interfered with smooth operation of the sear.

I relieved the inletting in the stock to accommodate the operation of the sear with the new tumbler.

Now the rifle lock works as it should. Three positions and all.

Thanks again to the Tidewater Kid for letting me have that tumbler. Saved me about a thousand dollars in parts.
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Old August 7, 2013, 10:03 AM   #16
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Working these locks is a lot of fun....

I needed three tools to take the lock apart and put it back together.

Channel lock pliers, long nose pliers and a screwdriver.

The secret is to get the springs removed first. The mainspring is a trick.

The works cleaned up well with Ballistol.

I haven't decided if I like PB Blaster or Ballistol better.

BP Blaster is cheaper and easier to find.
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Old August 7, 2013, 02:41 PM   #17
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Good fortune getting that tumbler Doc.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old August 7, 2013, 02:59 PM   #18
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Yes. Good fortune indeed....

This tumbler came from Tidewater Kid and it was a windfall for me.

I think I have all of the parts on the way now. Total bill for parts was 214.00 delivered. Al recommended a barrel band that was far less expensive than the ones he had pictured. This allowed me to upgrade to the Buffington rear sight without adding a bunch to the bottom line.

More photos when this stuff comes in.
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Old August 7, 2013, 10:18 PM   #19
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Doc,

Glad you could get some use out of it. I knew is was going to a good home!

TK
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Old August 16, 2013, 04:33 PM   #20
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Made some progress today

Smoothed the barrel down to make it more presentable.

Recontoured the trigger guard to make it look more like a carbine trigger guard. It is close but not completely accurate.

I found the last four digits of the serial number on the butt of the stock under the butt plate.

So now I have two additional bits of info.

1. The stock and the barrel and breach came from the same rifle. Probably the breach block as well.
2. The serial number is definitely 485521

Photos forthcoming when I get off my A _ _.
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Old August 17, 2013, 05:46 AM   #21
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Here are two photos







You would think I'd clean up my shop.





Nah!
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Old August 18, 2013, 12:08 PM   #22
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Here is a shot of the trigger guard

after removal of the ring for the swivel. The trigger guard contour is now close to what a carbine should be but it is not exact.



This is a photo of the hacked off stock. To be generous I am going to assume that the stock was broken and the person who cut it off had to make it two inches too short because of where the stock broke.



Sorry it is so out of focus.

Here is a better shot of the rifle with the unrepaired stock



This also gives you an idea of what the barrel is looking like after sanding off the worst of the damage.

Remember...This rifle has no collector value. So I didn't hurt it by doing the restoration and conversion.
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My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson

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Old August 18, 2013, 12:14 PM   #23
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I develoed a technique for strengthening the replacement forearm

I am not good enough with jointery to do anything but a butt joint between the existing stock and the replacement fore arm. So I had to come up with a way to add strength to the joint.

I inletted the stock and then inserted a stiffener between the fore arm and the stock.

I had to make a jig to hold a router on the milling machine so as to be able to control the cut very precisely.



Here is the mortise in the joint.



And here is the stiffener glued in place.

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Old August 18, 2013, 12:18 PM   #24
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To save a little money....

...I am making the barrel band spring.

The first photo is the raw stock held in the vise



I first cut the surfaces down to the final contour in strategic locations.



Then I started cutting down the sides of the metal so that the finished part would be the right width.



I am using a key cutter as a shell end mill because I generally make parts that are very small.
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Old August 18, 2013, 12:21 PM   #25
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More photos

Here is the finished spring



And the part in place

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