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.22-5-40
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Shooters Block?
Apr 10th, 2014 at 10:51pm
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You've heard of writers block..I think I have shooters block!  Few years back, squandered good chunk of mad money on..of all things a Watson Farquharson .450/400 3 1/4" N.E.  25" Krupp steel barrel marked 400gr. 60gr. Cordite.  It is shown in Winfers book..but don't have page handy.  Sometime in distant past, someone put a thru bolt through wrist area in front of checkering..nice job, inletted diamonds each side, case-colored & engraved as well as ends of screw.   I had some minor cosmetic touch up done to stock by a professional stock maker friend.  This was in late winter..my house is quite dry and he has humidifier running constant.  Got it back after several weeks and had mounted in gun vise..when I noticed a small crack had opened up in pistol grip..right in checkering.  First thought..had it been dropped?  It hadn't..removed stock and found very old repair and unknown glue type..I am thinking abrubt change in humidity/temp. opened up previous crack?  Anyway..this fellow is very good..everything was hidden under tangs & reciever steel.  He used a threaded steel rod accraglased in lengthwise thru wrist..and "dog-bone" shaped inlets for accraglass across cracks.  screws thru tangs were accraglased in as well.  I was worried about the checkering..but you really have to hunt for it under strong light and magnification to even see anything.
    I was looking for a mild target load for 50 to 100yd shooting with 300 to 350gr. cast..but had been sticking to powder-puff loads because of stock repairs..but these are shooting 12-16" too high at 50yd. and still 12" at 100.  Admit to feeling silly shooting these out of big gun.  Did load up heaver using 300gr. cast..IMR3031, IMR4198, 5744..recoil about like 45-70..or 12 ga.  Gun weighs 8#..but was shooting to sights..and cutting cloverleafs at 50yd!  Am I being silly and  overly cautious?  Wrist is probably stronger than when new?  Thanks guys! Undecided
  
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waterman
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Re: Shooters Block?
Reply #1 - Apr 11th, 2014 at 4:20am
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Ever run across a reference to Selous sideplates?  The old guys in Africa had a more or less standard fix for stock cracks similar to what you described.   They used glues made from boiled hooves & hide scraps.

After the glue was in place, they used wet rawhide tightly wrapped, then nailed, tacked or sewn in place, sometimes with wire.  The whole repair was allowed to dry in the African sun for a couple of days.  The repairs were done on rifles of much heavier recoil than a 450/400 and the old timers did not hesitate to go after dangerous game with them.

If it were my rifle, I would shoot it.  If the crack opened up or if it broke entirely, I would have it properly repaired.  When the repairs were completed, I would shoot it again.
  
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Re: Shooters Block?
Reply #2 - Apr 11th, 2014 at 9:22am
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Cracked at the wrist is pretty common in vintage shotguns some makes more than others. Fellow near me fixes a lot of them, He's a wizard you cannot tell they have been repaired, re-cuts the checkering after which hides the crack. Side note he bends stocks too, amazing he can change the drop inch or more without any sign it has been done. Raised 3 Parkers and  one Hunter Arms for me and no sign at all they have been altered. One of the Parkers was a basket case old repair with a rivet through the cheeks and shot embeded in the buttstock. Just for style we left the rivet and shot pellets in the stock. It's solid now and if fired with mild loads expect no problems.

You can re-crack one. Friend of mine had a LC Smith repaired then kept shooting high recoil loads, cracked again, and no doubt can be fixed again.  We often talk about action strength and many of the old firearms are as strong if not stronger than modern guns. Wood is old however and can crack if subject to strong recoil. Best policy is stay light with originals for that reason alone.

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oneatatime
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Re: Shooters Block?
Reply #3 - Apr 13th, 2014 at 2:29pm
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The wood is solid on my 1902 Webley and I use 80 grains of IMR4350 with a 400 grain Barnes (old copper tube) for 2085 fps and 84 grains with a 300 grain Barnes for 2222 fps. With the recoil from these I can see where a cracked wrist could be a concern but with a proper repair and maybe a little glassing to make sure the action delivers an even straight transmission to the stock without a splitting factor being introduced it shouldn't be a concern. I'm set to test some cast bullet loads at considerably lower velocities as a concession to my aging shoulders.
  
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