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Reg
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Clerke High Wall Action
Apr 10th, 2019 at 11:54am
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A few years back I picked up a stripped Clarke action frame and lower tang that had been bubbed.  Over the years I have managed to clean up the action and correct its errors and it is almost operating with a mixture of home made and original Winchester parts.
A mongrel for sure but it has come together nicely and will make into something soon as I can figure out exactly what I want to do with it.
While checking Rockwell readings I have noticed the frame itself is coming in around Rc 12 C and the breechblock is Rc 18 C , both a bit on the soft side.  I would appear that this was a unfinished action or a Kit ?   Who would you recommend that could properly heat treat these parts to bring them up to snuff.  They do not have to be color cased but it would be nice.
From looking at the frame and lower tang it appears they were machined from the solid, there are no casting marks apparent so I am guessing a 8620 steel.  If they were a 1018/20  I am thinking they would not show the degree of hardness they do.
Also would like to learn more about these actions.  Have heard very little.  Any story's or references would be appreciated.
Thank You
  
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Schutzenbob
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #1 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 12:15pm
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A picture would be helpful 'cause Bo made various different Winchester-like actions over the years, as well as Winchester parts which were interchangable with the originals. Some of the later actions were called "Serrifle."
  
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Reg
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #2 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 1:05pm
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Lets try this again.  Didn't know they had to be resized.
The only parts I think to be Clerke is the frame and the lower tang.  Everything else is a dukes mixture of gunshow finds and fleabay.  Some Winchester parts fit well and some do not.  I have a Winchester curved lower tang that will not fit or even be close.
  
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frnkeore
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #3 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 1:51pm
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I have two Clerke's. They were a production rifle at one time, under the the name "Serrifle" as Bob notes. You can find them advertised in back issues of Gun Digest and Shooters Bible, in the late 70's, early 80's.

I bought my first one, used, in 1985 and then found a action, with a nice butt stock, almost 5 years ago. It was built by Chuck Pingry, from left over Clerke stock, when Bo quit making them.

Here is a link to that thread:

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

The Clerke, simi-copy of the HW, my be the strongest of the single shot actions, with it's 8620 frame, 1 x 16 barrel shank and extended receiver ring.

He made two basic type of frames, one with tangs and one with a threw bolt and no top tang. My DST trigger, started as a threw bolt and Chuck added a top tang.

About 7-8 years ago, someone had a bunch of raw, receiver castings for sale, of both styles. I don't know what happened to them. Did yours come from those?

Yours is looking very nice, please keep us informed on your progress.

Frank

« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2019 at 2:13pm by frnkeore »  

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Schutzenbob
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #4 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 2:06pm
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OK....what little I can tell you...is that your rifle action was made by Bo Clerke in Lancaster CA under the name "Serrifile Inc." probably about 1982. I don't think Bo made very many of those, but I have one here, and I'll get it out and take some pictures. I remember that at the time, Bo didn't have the parts properly hardened, and so you had to go through and heat treat things. I have a set of Bo's Winchester double-set triggers, which I still use and really like, but I had to harden them and I had the tang case colored. Bo was a very busy guy, and was always manufacturing things.  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2019 at 2:15pm by Schutzenbob »  
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frnkeore
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #5 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 2:11pm
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Regarding the HT, to my knowledge, they are all 8620 castings. But, Bo may have done prototypes out of bar stock but, I don't know that. Bob could have some insight on that? Bo is dead and there are not many left that knew him well. He wasn't easy to get to know, I shot with him a few times but, didn't get to know him well. To his friends, he'd do a lot and had 22rf matches in his shop for them. He was a very unique person! I wish I had stayed in So Cal, long enough to get to know him. He was a fierce, no nonsense, Scot!! At least that was the impression he gave to me. His name is pronounced Clark but, spelled Clerke.

Most people CCH 8620 receivers but, if you want to HT it, it will be expensive, unless you can find a company that will throw it in with a batch of other 8620 parts, not the norm for heat treater's.

Frank
  

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Schutzenbob
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #6 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 2:28pm
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This is some detail from a picture taken in 1986, Bill Eddy (above) is holding a Serrifle rifle, Bo is holding a modified Ruger;
  
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #7 - Apr 10th, 2019 at 3:07pm
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Reg, how are you getting a Rockwell "C"?. Rockwell is taken using a Diamond
penetrator tip. My experience has been when material to be checked for Rockwell hardness becomes unreliable once you get down around 25 to 30 C
I would be surprised to even see a figure 12 at "C". You need to realize you are comparing Rockwell against the Hardness of the Diamond pointed penetrator with the Diamond being 100. Now Rockwell testers can be messed with. The
unit needs to be setup for Rockwell as there is an weight system that can be
reset for Brinell  hardness test using a Steel Ball tip and the weight system has to be set for it. However you got that figure I would consider it not a reliable
number and or the Action is Butter soft.  I am not meaning to be a wise A$$
but I think this needs to be followed up to be Safe. HTH Regards FITZ.
OLD TUCK Smiley
  
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #8 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 11:31am
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Frank,
Most people CCH 8620 receivers but, if you want to HT it, it will be expensive, unless you can find a company that will throw it in with a batch of other 8620 parts, not the norm for heat treater's.

Frank [/quote]

8620 is not too difficult to HT. Salt bath ( NaCl ) about 50 degrees above the melting point. Soak until the salt coating from heat up in gone and long enough to assure equilibrium. Quench in water. Temper at 300 F. You get approx Rc43. I've never tried it on a receiver/frame so I don't know how much distortion you get.

Stack Met (portland, or) will carburize and quench (oil)  <= 40# for something in the range of $70 last time I checked.  You get to specify the depth of case.

If one could batch several different frames it would help the cost/frame. All the same makes you look like a manufacturer.
  
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Reg
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #9 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 12:49pm
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After a bit more careful looking I do believe this started life as a casting and from the overall opinion it would seem to be 8620.  A color case would go along well with how I would like this to wind up, does anyone have a recommendation who to get with?

I wish I knew more of the background of this action.  I see it was from a casting rather than cut from bar stock but if it was from raw castings that someone one other than Clarke finished or left over from his operation as partially finished , I haven't a clue.

Am awaiting a couple more internal parts to do the final fitting and see if the action will function, so far it is looking good even though it is quite a oddball collection of parts.  I have the dimensioned  plans that are out there but so far am finding that original Winchester parts are working well at least on the small internal parts so will stick with them until something doesn't line up then we can take another look at things.

In keeping with the tradition of making this up out of the parts box I have a as new barrel for the .444 Marlin that was set up for a High Wall and seems that it will fit this action perfectly but since it looks like it will be going out for color case think it will be best for any final fitting to wait until it get back.

I do appreciate all the information, picture's and especially the stories of Bo Clerke.  From what I read here and from reading in the past he was quite a guy.  Am interesting person always thinking and had the ability to back up his ideas with the capability of bringing them to life.
I remember back in the early 60's of his work with the 38-45 cartridge, years later upon having the chance to use and fire one extensively other than the fact the cases were a bit of work to make I was more than impressed with its function and accuracy.
To see a empty case feed flawlessly out of a magazine time after time is more than impressive.
 
  
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #10 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 1:00pm
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frnkeore,

Great write up on your action.  Will be keeping it for future reference.
Thanks
  
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frnkeore
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #11 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 1:26pm
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Thank you, Reg.

Quote:
In keeping with the tradition of making this up out of the parts box I have a as new barrel for the .444 Marlin that was set up for a High Wall and seems that it will fit this action perfectly but since it looks like it will be going out for color case think it will be best for any final fitting to wait until it get back.


If the barrel is for a original HW, keep in mind, the Clerke should have a 1 x 16 thread and a HW has a 15/16 x 16 thread.

Frank
  

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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #12 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 1:53pm
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Reg,
One more question that I keep forgetting to ask, Did you machine the crescent at the rear of the action, for the butt stock?

It's the only Clerke that I've seen, cut that way. I like it better than the original action.

Also, I went back to the thread that I did in 2015 and put a link to this thread, for future Clerke owners.

Frank
« Last Edit: Apr 15th, 2019 at 12:01pm by frnkeore »  

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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #13 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 2:22pm
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Frank,
Well this is sure getting interesting.
When I bought the action frame and lower tang a number of years ago, I was told it was a Clerke by the fellow I bought it from.  I am starting to have my doubts.
I checked the barrel shank diameter and it is 15/16, not 1 inch.  Now the barrel was purchased years after I bought the action so I know there is no relationship  I rechecked the fit and it is within 20 degrees of rotation by hand with no pressure so there is no doubt of it fitting but it is the 15/16 x 16 TPI for sure.  The only marks on the barrel is the caliber stamping .444 and a name about three inches in front of the caliber stamp in small stamp, OWENS.  Not sure if it is the maker of the barrel or the person that shaped and fitted it from a blank.  A very nice looking barrel anyway.
The cuts at the rear of the action appear to have been a casting and finished by hand.  On both sides, upper and lower everything blends very well  but shows file marks .

If this is not a Clerke then what else could it be ???



Since writing the above I went to my reference library and pulled up a copy of Single Shot Actions, Their Design and Construction by Frank and Mark deHaas, 1986
On page 91 starts the story of the Clerke High-Wall actions, The Armory C-H Clerke and the Model 72 Clerk actions. A long but very good read.  I never knew they were all connected.
From the above read it looks like the action I have is actually none of the above at least from the printed descriptions , drawing and photos presented, but then again from what is said about the many variations of the above anything is possible. 
So far, about the only part that does not seem to be a Winchester compatible part is the lower tang.
This one is bigger and beefier in the locating areas than a original Winchester.

Also, in comparing the actual physical appearance of my action as compared to a Clerke and especially the C-H action my actually has the more distinct lines of a Winchester.  The Clerke and there again, especially the C-H action have more long drawn out lines with more rounded corners and the C-H action has an extension length of about 1 and 3/8 inch.

Ideas ???
« Last Edit: Apr 11th, 2019 at 2:53pm by Reg »  
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frnkeore
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Re: Clerke High Wall Action
Reply #14 - Apr 11th, 2019 at 3:39pm
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Very good, additional info, Reg. I don't have that book.

My Clerke, receiver rings are 1.33 long. My original, flat spring DST, HW is .775, measured with the barrel mounted.

OA length of the Clerke is ~4.9" long the HW is ~4.1, measured in the same way. I tried to get the longest measurement possible, on a horizontal line.

I'm not familiar with the name Owens but, someone on the forum, may be.

Frank

« Last Edit: Apr 15th, 2019 at 12:03pm by frnkeore »  

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