Before we went on the test-firing range trip, I ordered a replacement extractor spring (the one in the top cover) and an extended bolt handle from Sarco, to make the hand cycling a bit easier on the hands. I didn’t know if this thing was going to cycle properly or not, and running the gun in single shot with that short handle, is not recommended.
My wonderful girlfriend helped me hand-link about 340 rounds, which was about all we could stand, both our hands were severely blistered up at that point.
After the parts had come in and were changed out, we set off to our range-trip.
We chose the Cecil-Webb range in Punta Gorda for this, as the range has more room, and the Range Officers are usually less intrusive.
We set the gun up on its tripod, checked headspace one last time, and put the ammo belt in.I have to admit, I was pretty nervous, I’ve shot some rebuilt guns of mine, handguns and rifles, but this time was more nerve wrecking…
After the assembly was complete, I took the gun apart again, and brought it to work, so I could sand-blast it for the Aluma-Hyde.
After I blasted it, I hung the receiver and barrel shroud from a wire I strung outside and after a good degrease, I heated the components up with a hair-dryer, and applied multiple coats of Aluma-Hyde in Parkerize Gray.
Took the receiver and shroud back inside, and suspended them from some wire in a low-traffic area, and let them rest for a week.
After I was confident the Aluma-Hyde had hardened, I started the re-assembly again.
Every component, upon assembly, got a good spray-down with WD40.
The reason I used WD40, was that one time at a machinegun shoot, I was shooting Burney’s M37, and he used WD40 liberally, and the gun seemed to like it.
I was also using it to lubricate the links as I was linking, being that the links are not made for 54R. And of course, Old_Painless, author of The Box Of Truth swears by it. And supposedly, he is “In the know”.
Once I had her all reassembled, I started to feed the linked dummy rounds I had made.
And boy, did I have a hard time. The extractor kept slipping, and I just couldn’t apply enough force to cycle the bolt. This got a little better when I put it on the ground, and braced myself on the tripod. When the day was over, I put her outside and took some pictures.
Next up: The Range trip!
After all the necessary prep work, I was ready to shoot the rivets.
I’ve learned my lesson. The main trunnion rivets are a bear. They are too thick to really do with an air rivet gun. With the help of my awesome Girlfriend (she helped me rivet and buck rivets, in our hot and sweaty hangar, for 2 hours straight, on a Sunday afternoon! That’s hardcore!!) I got all the rivets in place.
I mushroomed the main trunnion ones out as far as I could, and with a good metal backing, I ended up seating them into the countersink with a heavy hammer. That was quick work.
Once all the grinding was done, I took her home again and re-attached the top cover, back plate, and barrel shroud with booster. And set her in my tripod.
But that’s for another update.
Started out today by countersinking the holes on the Right Side Plate (RSP) with a 60 degree countersink.
Bottom row done, all countersunk, all rivets will sit flush.
Next up was riveting the RSP Pintle Pad in place.
The rivets for this just get smashed down, as they also seat into a countersunk hole on the outside. Here it is while grinding the rivet heads smooth.
In the same go, I riveted the bullet stop onto the plate. Very tough to do after it’s all together…
Next up was preparing 2 rivets for the top plate, it gets 2 small rivets in the back, and one long one in the front. Due to the spacing inside, the two back ones need to be trimmed down a bit.
And there she is! Ready to rivet!
Yesterday, my Bullet Puller and 54R re-loader setup showed up from Midway, I figured I make some dummy rounds, to be able to function check the gun without having to take it to the range.
And today, with UPS, my Iron Creations LLC Tripod showed up, along with the 30.06 booster, bushing and rivet set. Looks like I’ll be making some progress this weekend!
My internals and T&E are scheduled to show up some time next week.
I’ve been in touch with Jeff from Iron Creations in Ohio, and he’s going to do the machine work for me. I’ve been told that these babies eat carbide milling bits…
Stripped down the bolt, barrel extension and lock frame, ready for shipment on Monday.
Jeff is going to mail them back along with a (US made reproduction) tripod, pintle, rivet kit, pintle sleeve and a 30.06 booster.
Being that my gun was .308, and the 7.62*54R needs a 30.06 booster, I had to find a replacement for that as well.
Upon dis-assembly and cleaning I noticed a crack in the pistol grip part of the back plate.
I thought it was sitting at a funny angle…
Someone must have dropped this thing on the grip a few times.
I took the buffers out and assessed the damage. I’m not sure if I’m going to try and repair this one with a MIG weld or even silver solder, or if I should just get a replacement.
Replacements are available, but run around $100 it seems.
Being that the right hand side of the receiver has been torch cut per regulations, the parts kits brought in to the country contain a few items that are necessary on the new right hand plate, such as the bullet stop and the pintle pad.
The old rivets are best removed by drilling from the back side, after making a center point with a good center punch. Drill into the rivet until you’re close to the plate,
A swift hit with a punch into your freshly drilled hole, and it should pop right out.
From some marks on the receiver, I could tell that a common used de-riveting technique is to simply grind them off, leaving ugly grind marks in the receiver. This method won’t mark the receiver at all, all the work is done in the old rivet itself, if done correctly.
There it is, on the new side plate.
Note that the hole in the receiver plate is smaller, Israeli’s modified some guns by drilling out the pintle holes to 5/8″ and inserting a sleeve. Mine will be re-sleeved to accept a USGI Pintle and bolt.
Flipping through the last Shotgun news, I was going through the 6 page Sarco ad, and noticed they still had Browning 1919 parts kit in stock. So, I sent off a few messages, joined 1919A4.com and bought a parts kit for a 1919A4, with all the conversion pieces for 7.62*54R. This Russian ammo is still readily available, and relatively cheap.
After a few days, I got a call from Bill at Trophy Reloading in Sarasota, that my parts kit and 100% Semi receiver had arrived. A quick trip up there and a background check later, I was on my way home with my latest project.
As soon as I returned to work I opened the box, and slid some pieces together:
This thing looked like fun!! As I described it to my girlfriend: “It’s heavy, greasy, it stinks and I love it!”
After I got home, I took some of the parts apart, and started the cleaning. A .50cal ammo can filled halfway with Simple-Green turned out to be an excellent overnight degreaser.