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Building a falling block action? (Read 14135 times)
Uncle_Ethan
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Hobbs, New Mexico, USA
Building a falling block action?
Sep 6th, 2008 at 11:40pm
 
When I retired and relocated, I had to get rid of my mill and lathe. I now have a 9" Southbend, and a Elgin vertical mill. The mill was designed for tooling and is light duty. I was considering using some of the surplus steel around here that is high strength for use in the oil industry. I was already given some steel rod that is STRONG! I have the de Hass book on actions, and was considering making my own action up- with the difference being the falling block would be a section of rod, with a flat milled on where the barrel end would be. If it was enclosed by rolled steel except for the slot in the action where the hammer would travel to strike the firing pin plus a wider groove for the bullet to move through to load, it would make machining much easier. Any of you real gunsmiths have any ideas about this before I commit a years worth of machining to the project?
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trev
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #1 - Sep 7th, 2008 at 12:52am
 
Do you get Home Shop Machinist magazine?

If not, you should track down an issue or two and have a good look at it.

There was a design serialized in that magazine, showing the making of a falling block, striker fired action, which they collected together and published as a stand alone book.

Village Press Publications is the publisher. Worth a look.

The square hole of the mortise is daunting to look at, but if it's a hobby anyway, you are in not a huge hurry. It can be dealt with by shaping, or by sawing and filing, but EDM (the money solution!) is by far the fastest and least risky method.
You soon learn, in metalwork, that you need a tool, to make a tool, so you can make a tool....etc. Cheesy

If you can find a source of acrylic scraps (aka PLexiglass), they work very well for doing freeform cut and try machining. They also offer the ability to see what is going on inside while the cut is going on, allowing you to play around a bit while laying out inside machining set-ups, and seeing how things will work out.

If you keep to low pressure cartridges, the sky is pretty much the limit to designs.
If you can get hold of the DeHaas "Single Shot Rifle" series of books, there are a lot of means to an end.

One other method I have seen used, was to machine the action in two halves, and weld the halves together.
If you can weld, that may be something to look at.

Take a look at homegunsmith.com. Register and search for "falling block rifle". There are a couple different builds documented there.

Cheers
  Trev
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Bruce_S
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #2 - Sep 7th, 2008 at 9:35am
 
http://www.assra.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?num=1213823538/15#15

This is a past link to one of my questions about building a Falling Block.

also do a 'Falling block' search on [Google Patents] ......that should lead you to other searches.............lots of pictures and descriptions.

No-BS
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Uncle_Ethan
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #3 - Sep 7th, 2008 at 1:50pm
 
Thanks for the reply's and information.  I am now a smarter, if no wiser man now.  I'll check them out.  Didn't know about the Home shop magazine.
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John Taylor
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #4 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:43am
 
You could probably build a Phoenix action on your home shop equipment. May need to do some file work in some corners. As stated before, rounds breach block are not a good idea
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Uncle_Ethan
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #5 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 12:52pm
 
I got an e-mail from the gentleman making the Farquarson [sp] action that he would send me the info on his latest strong build it yourself action that will require little fitting- apparently it has a outside hammer [I assume much like the Sharps or Alex Henry.
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whitey hanson
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #6 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 1:56pm
 
Uncle_Ethan wrote on Sep 11th, 2008 at 12:52pm:
I got an e-mail from the gentleman making the Farquarson [sp] action that he would send me the info on his latest strong build it yourself action that will require little fitting- apparently it has a outside hammer [I assume much like the Sharps or Alex Henry.

Is this the outfit from Colorado.??Whitey
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Uncle_Ethan
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #7 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 3:29pm
 
Whitey, I believe it is.  The gentleman's name is Gordon and his address is smoke@actioncastings.us  -his e-mail indicated just preliminary info. being available, but that the action could be put together as rifle or pistol, and for right or left handers and required little finishing and no springs to be made.
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Uncle_Ethan
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #8 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 3:30pm
 
John Taylor wrote on Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:43am:
You could probably build a Phoenix action on your home shop equipment. May need to do some file work in some corners. As stated before, rounds breach block are not a good idea

Where would I find info on the Phoenix action?  Thanks
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trev
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #9 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 4:23pm
 
Probably your best single resorce would be the "Single Shot" series of books by Frank DeHaas.

He laid out all the parts or drew a fairly accurate scaled drawing, for each of the dozens and dozen of rifles and actions he reviewed, ranging from very early to recent developments (up to "his" time, in any case), gave a written assesment of the strengths and weaknesses of each design, and some of the design history if known.

These drawings are very good reference material, and I suspect that a good many firearms have been made from them. General arrangement, shapes and relationships while in positon.  One need not worry much about exact measurements, when one has all the parts that will ever have to work together, on the bench, unlike a production setting where tolerances and mis-measurements could ruin the parts run.

If you have not seen these books, I am pretty certain that you will enjoy them. They are a good bunch of info.

If you have not seen the Machinist's Bedside Reader series of books by Guy Lautard, I recommend them as well.

Cheers
  Trev
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harry_eales
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #10 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 5:08pm
 
Uncle Ethan,

Sir,

If you have already had a lathe and a milling machine, I suppose then, that you know how to use them? The ASSRA Archive has a number of single shot rifle plans available at US$ 10.00 per set. A lot cheaper than some offered for sale by commercial companies. Yup, it may cost a couple of bucks more to have them enlarged, but hell, that's still cheap.

You don't need large machines to make an action. Most actions can be made on very small lathes and mills. I use a 7 x 14 lathe and an X2 mill. Both are Chinese and cost me less than US$ 300.00. Hell, the tooling cost twice that.

A little EDM work on the breechblock mortice can be very helpful, and although not very cheap, it's well worth the expense.

I've been pottering along building a copy of a Borchardt Action for a couple of years now, (yes I know, I'm taking my time) but it's great fun to do. I have a nice chunk of Claro Walnut for the stock and forearm and a nice piece of Gabon Ebony for the forearm tip.

I'll need access to a larger lathe to do the barrel threading and chambering, but that's all.

I only work on my rifle action when I feel like it, but I should have it finished soon. Eventually it will end up as a .45/90 long range BP target rifle. See:-

http://s89.photobucket.com/albums/k206/Rifleman_01/?sc=3

Good luck, whichever way you go.

Harry


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Old-Win
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #11 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 5:37pm
 
I can't wait to see it Harry! Smiley Bob
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Uncle_Ethan
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Hobbs, New Mexico, USA
Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #12 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 6:22pm
 
harry_eales wrote on Sep 11th, 2008 at 5:08pm:
Uncle Ethan,

Sir,

If you have already had a lathe and a milling machine, I suppose then, that you know how to use them? The ASSRA Archive has a number of single shot rifle plans available at US$ 10.00 per set. A lot cheaper than some offered for sale by commercial companies. Yup, it may cost a couple of bucks more to have them enlarged, but hell, that's still cheap.

You don't need large machines to make an action. Most actions can be made on very small lathes and mills. I use a 7 x 14 lathe and an X2 mill. Both are Chinese and cost me less than US$ 300.00. Hell, the tooling cost twice that.

A little EDM work on the breechblock mortice can be very helpful, and although not very cheap, it's well worth the expense.

I've been pottering along building a copy of a Borchardt Action for a couple of years now, (yes I know, I'm taking my time) but it's great fun to do. I have a nice chunk of Claro Walnut for the stock and forearm and a nice piece of Gabon Ebony for the forearm tip.

I'll need access to a larger lathe to do the barrel threading and chambering, but that's all.

I only work on my rifle action when I feel like it, but I should have it finished soon. Eventually it will end up as a .45/90 long range BP target rifle. See:-

http://s89.photobucket.com/albums/k206/Rifleman_01/?sc=3

Good luck, whichever way you go.

Harry



Sir - Those photo's are amazing!  You are indeed building a rifle the same as John Browning did.  I will study those blueprints, but I don't have your skill at machining.  My friend back in California could do as well as you, but I was learning from him when I had the opportunity to flee the liberal curtain and move to New Mexico.  I have a South Bend 9" v-belt model [early 50ties] but only about 26" between centers.  The mill is a Elgin from somewhere between 1933 and 1956 [I believe].  As you say, it is quite small but can whittle down a piece of steel a little at a time.  I have a surface grinder I am assembling, and a old Delta  bandsaw I am reworking.  I was taught that the best way to remove excess stock was by bandsaw to achieve the outside perifery prior to machining, and I had planned to build a die filer from a old gas engine I have.  I would drill the corner holes for the falling block opening, bandsaw to connect the holes and remove the center stock, and use the die filer smooth the inner surfaces prior to final material removal.  I am, however, still reading the Machinery handbook to figure out single point threading.  I haven't lived here long enough to be trusted by any of the older local machinists, so I will teach myself.  Thanks for the post and the pictures, is your shop warm enough in winter to do any work?
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james a pickup
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Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #13 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:08pm
 
Single-Tooling it,as my father traught me to do it, isn't all that hard.You just keep cutting till it fits,if you are building a rifle from stratch, use a 60 degree "v"thread.For god's sake don't use a SQUARE THREAD, unfornunately most original singleshots except the Ballard and High-Wall do use a square thread.THe Machinery's handbook does not even list that thread type,but i've rebarreled two rolling-blocks and am about to do a Sharps side=hammer that has this type. I don't know about the m1rifle, but the 1903 springfield and krag also used a square thread.
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Uncle_Ethan
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Hobbs, New Mexico, USA
Re: Building a falling block action?
Reply #14 - Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:43pm
 
james a pickup wrote on Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:08pm:
Single-Tooling it,as my father traught me to do it, isn't all that hard.You just keep cutting till it fits,if you are building a rifle from stratch, use a 60 degree "v"thread.For god's sake don't use a SQUARE THREAD, unfornunately most original singleshots except the Ballard and High-Wall do use a square thread.THe Machinery's handbook does not even list that thread type,but i've rebarreled two rolling-blocks and am about to do a Sharps side=hammer that has this type. I don't know about the m1rifle, but the 1903 springfield and krag also used a square thread.

What confused me about single point thread cutting was that myu buddy said I should offset about .020 each time I came back for another cut so I wouldn't over run the threads as I cut deeper.  The first one I need to cut is a square thread to re-barrel a 1917 Enfield in .45 caliber.  I believe the Shiloh Sharps has a square thread, as I have the barrel [ 50/70] carbine length from my Shiloh made at Farmingdale, NY.  I sent it back to have it re-barreled into a Gemmer and now have a carbine barrel laying around.
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