Friday, May 24, 2013

Remington 550-1 and Range Day

I picked up another classic .22 autoloader today at Surplus City. It's a Remington 550-1. AFAIK, the 550 was made from the 1940s up until the early 1970s.  It has the floating chamber designed by Carbine Williams so it can shoot .22 S, L, or LR. I tried some CB Longs and while it will eject the empties, the bolt didn''t come far back enough to pick up the next round. The floating chamber may need to be pulled and cleaned. The tube mag will hold 15 .22 LRs.

The rifle was made before 1968 and has no serial number. The date code on the barrel indicates that it was made in March 1948. I'd rate it as NRA Very Good with an excellent bore. I put over 200 rounds through it today with only a couple failures to feed. One was with a CCI Mini Mag and one was with a Federal Champion. Incidentally, comparing the two types of ammo side by side they look identical except for the headstamp. They sound the same and shoot to the same POI at 25 yards. So, AFAIC, the Federal Champion is the equal of CCI Mini Mags. I also shot a bunch of Federal 550 bulk pack and it ran fine with them, too. (ATK owns both CCI and Federal.)

I ran a couple patches through the bore and applied a generous amount of FP10 to the bolt before shooting it. It hasn't been cleaned in a long time. For all I know there's four decades' worth of gunk inside the receiver. Fouling started working its way out of the action and some funk actually fell out the trigger slot. I took the stock off and removed the bolt, tonight and hosed the action out with Kroil, letting it soak for a couple hours. A fair amount of yucky stuff came out.

The 550-1 is a tackdriver. I shot it from the bench at 25 yards where it would keep the Mini Mags and Champions inside ~1.5" which is about as good as I can do with an open rear sight and a front bead. The receiver is neither grooved nor drilled and tapped for a scope. I plan to drill and tap the receiver with my milling machine. I have an extra Nikon 4x32mm Prostaff rimfire scope that will go on it.

The varnish on the stock shows some dings and chips, so I'll probably strip and refinish it. It's also missing the brass/gas deflector that Remington shipped with the rifles. Numrich has spares and the mounting screw, so I'll definitely get one. It does spit a little out the ejection port. I'll also probably swap out the recoil spring for a new one.

Compared with more recent .22 autoloading rifles the Remington feels a lot nicer. It's definitely a product of a bygone era when American gunmakers shipped rifles made from high quality blued steel with nice wood stocks. It feels a lot more solid than my Ruger 10/22 or the Marlin Model 60s I've handled.

I also shot my Remington Nylon 77 with the extra mags that I had to modify. (The 4 spare mags that I got from Remington would not lock into the rifle. I had to grind away part of the locking lug. Worse, 3 of the 4 needed the metal reinforcing clip bent out so I could load them.) They worked well today, so now I'm happy with them.

Here's a pic of the two Remington .22 autoloaders:

Older blued steel and walnut .22s like the 550-1 make excellent additions to any prepper's battery. They were made very well and in many cases are extremely accurate. Older Remingtons in particular have a reputation for being very, very accurate. The tubular magazine is much less likely to be lost than a detachable box, although if you aren't careful you can damage it.

Finally, I also put a box of WWB .45 ACP through my Springfield M1911A1 using two new Chip McCormick magazines, which worked perfectly.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Milling Using a Chuck vs. Collets

The Sieg X2 Mini Mills like my Grizzly G8689 come with drill chucks. The Grizzly and some other brands also come with collets for holding end mills, while the Harbor Freight version comes only with a drill chuck, as far as I know. Today, I tried doing some milling using the chuck to hold an end mill, because I wanted the extra reach it provided.

Compared with a collet, the chuck is noticeably less rigid and watching the mill rotate, it also looks like it hold the end mill less concentrically. I.e., there's some noticeable wobble.

Based on this brief experience, collets are much better than the drill chuck for milling. End mill holders are another option, but I have no experience with them.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Forbes: Why 3D-Printed Untraceable Guns Could Be Good

Forbes is running an op-ed about why untraceable guns created on 3D printers could be good for the US.

Although the technology is still in its infancy, Wilson’s innovation has already sparked heated debate. Some gun rights advocates (including Wilson) argue this means current gun laws will soon be obsolete. They welcome the fact that home hobbyists may soon be able to build functioning firearms without any background check or government record. Others are alarmed, concerned that this would enable criminals to more easily obtain firearms. Congressman Steve Israel has already stated his intent to modify current laws to ban such guns.
However, Congressman Israel may be too late. Once thousands of motivated hobbyists start downloading open source gun designs and posting their refinements, we’ll likely see rapid technical advances. But Cody Wilson’s real impact on America may not be technological but political — and in a good way.

Read the whole thing.

I agree with Hsieh. If there is one thing we can learn from 20th Century history, it is that governments cannot be trusted with a monopoly of force. While it has always been legal for Americans to make untraceable guns for their own use, 3D printing lowers the entry bar, especially since traditional shop classes have been on the wain in American schools, while a larger number of people have developed computer skills. 3D printing will make home manufacture of firearms more accessible to the masses, especially as the technology matures.

That said, for those like myself willing to learn basic machine shop skills, fully functional firearms can be made at home with equipment within reach of most of the middle class. Small milling machines and lathes are available at prices under $1,000 each. For a modest additional expenditure, they can be made more precise with digital readouts, and for another grand or so can by CNC-enabled.

To would-be tyrants like Steve King, Charles Schumer, and Dianne Feinstein: You can't stop the signal.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Belt Drive Conversion for Grizzly Mini Mill

Now that I've been using my Grizzly G8689 (Sieg X2) mini mill for a few weeks, I've decided to do a belt drive conversion on it. The plastic gear drive system on the mill has two main disadvantages:

1. It's very noisy.
2. It's prone to breakage, from what I've read in many places.

Little Machine Shop has a belt drive conversion kit which remedies both issues. I ordered one, along with a spare belt this afternoon. They should arrive some time next week.

The next improvement to the mill will be adding digital read outs for all three axes. I bought the DRO plans from Fignoggle Designs, but I'm still debating whether to use them or go with a cheaper solution. E.g., just get a set of iGaging scales with remote readouts. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Student of the Gun discusses how to find a pro-RKBA lawyer in the event you need to use a gun in self defense in their April 25, 2013 episode, below, and discusses my website, The Shooters' Bar.

As I mention on TSB's home page, I started the list back in 1997 as a way for gun owners to help keep their money within the shooting community. That said, if you are looking for a lawyer to represent you after a defensive gun usage, the most important thing to remember is that you need someone who is a good criminal defense attorney. If you go to the TSB and don't find such a lawyer in your locale, you could call someone listed who is near you but practices in other areas of the law and ask for a referral.

Remember, too, that every attorney listed on TSB has asked to be there. I don't go adding folks on my own. If there isn't someone listed in a particular state or locality it means that nobody from there has contacted me. Links to TSB are always welcome, and if you inform pro-RKBA lawyers of the site to help me fill in the gaps it's appreciated.