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Thread: Chicopee Build

  1. #1
    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Chicopee Build

    This winter I have casted most every scrap of lead I had and there isnt any empty brass laying around the shop either, so I started looking for another project. After surfing the net and reading a lot, I decided to give Frank Dehaas's Chicopee design a try. I ordered the steel stock and printed out the templates. Once the steel got here I broke out the side grinder, hacksaw and files. I managed to get most everything cut out and roughed to shape. To make two identical pieces, I tack welded the two plate together and cut and shaped them as one.

    I followed Dehaas's plans for grinding the outside radius on the drill press. The inside radius for the shoulders was a little more difficult. He suggested using a 4 inch diameter grinding wheel and just pushing the stock into the wheel and let it cut the radius. Instead I used the previously cut radius of the breach block as a guide and scribbed the radius on the raw stock. I used a flapper disk and side grinder to get me close to the mark. Then I came up with the contraption below to to sand the shoulders to fit. Once I was happy with the fit, I lapped them in using the same contraption.

    Then came the receiver block. I cut the rabbits with a hacksaw and finished them to size with a file. I did pretty good too. I did not trust my drill press to make the hole for the barrel. I went the the benchtop mill that I have a limited access to and used it. While I was at it, FDH plans call for the firing pin assembly to be two pieces held together by a screw. I did not like this so I milled an assembly out of solid stock.

    In the mean time, I had been dreaming of saving some money to buy a lathe and mill. That whole saving money thing is just a dream, I have two kids one of which had to have braces. I was bored and decided to cruise craigslist so I could dream some more. Instead I found a combo machine that was priced right. so ended up with getting it. Just like everything else I own, its missing some bits and bobs but it works! Now I just have to save up for some tooling.

    Here is a little intro video I did of the progress so far.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYCiAcKvpdY
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  2. #2
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    Interesting, can't wait to see it finished.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Awesome! I love those home made actions and such. Stay with in the correct pressure and you will have more fun than man should have. I love those combo units for guys like me but I could not find one and found micky mouse mill and a lathe for only peanuts compared to new combo. This thread will be a blast when the experts get going on the strength and such of your build!! Don't lose heart because you have one and they don't!!!
    Look twice, shoot once.

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    I have been thinking of hardening and tempering each part too but I don't know what each would need. Do the plans explain?

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    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44man View Post
    I have been thinking of hardening and tempering each part too but I don't know what each would need. Do the plans explain?
    No sir, there is no explanation on which parts to harden or how to. The book uses 1018 mild steel in the action except for one part. That part will be contacting the head of the cartridge and it calls for any tool steel. I plan on case hardening the hammer and trigger. There is no seperate sear. I want those mating surfaces to be hard and not wear out.

    If you watched the video, the part FDH requires to be tool steel is the part that was bolted together that I did not like. I made a solid piece.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 44man
    I have been thinking of hardening and tempering each part too but I don't know what each would need. Do the plans explain?
    The 1018 mentioned is mild steel and thus does not require tempering after hardening, it is "case" hardened only on the surface and the inside of the part stays soft and ductile. The tool steels mentioned for other parts however use very different hardening processes and will harden all the way through thus becoming too hard and very brittle after heat treating so they do require the follow up process of tempering, the temperatures required and the type of quench medium, oil, water, etc, will depend on which type of tool steel chosen and the proper process for that particular type MUST be followed. Mild steel such as 1018 can be hardened by packing in charcoal and heating red hot for an hour or so then quenching in cold water, when removed from the water quench it is ready to use as is unlike any of the tool steels which then must be tempered after quenching.

    Mild steel can also be hardened by coating the parts with a hardening compound like "Cherry-red" or "Kasenit" (IF you can find any Kasenit, it's been out of production for a while now) and then simply heating them with a torch. This compound method is simple and quick but the depth of hardness is very thin and not as durable as a real carbon packing process, still it does work and can be quite sufficient for a lot of gun parts.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Very cool, keep up the good work! Hopefully one day soon I'll get started on one myself.

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    I worry about the chamber part. Must withstand pressures so can't be too hard but must be better steel. I could handle tool steels for parts and hate case hardening for anything.

  9. #9
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    I thought I saw this 2 places...... homegunsmithforums
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 44man View Post
    I worry about the chamber part. Must withstand pressures so can't be too hard but must be better steel. I could handle tool steels for parts and hate case hardening for anything.

    I don't think I would want the chamber/barrel to be mild steel but I doubt it is supposed to be anyway. Another option is to just use 4140HT (AKA 4140 pre-hard) for most pieces then there would be no need to heat treat the parts, the stuff is unbelievably strong and hard enough so as to not require further heat treating yet it can still be worked easily. It machines really good and is about a perfect choice for most parts as long as welding, Silver soldering or any other process involving high heat is not required. It also is not suitable for Color Case Hardening but will rust or hot blue just fine or it can be polished to a Nickel like finish. Darn good stuff really but these designs being discussed here are intended for low to medium pressure cartridges and 1018 is just fine for most of the parts, O1 for those requiring tool steel would be a good choice since it is easy to harden and temper with a minimum of tools and effort.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

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    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMC45 View Post
    I thought I saw this 2 places...... homegunsmithforums
    Yep, same one.

  12. #12
    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldred View Post
    I don't think I would want the chamber/barrel to be mild steel but I doubt it is supposed to be anyway. Another option is to just use 4140HT (AKA 4140 pre-hard) for most pieces then there would be no need to heat treat the parts, the stuff is unbelievably strong and hard enough so as to not require further heat treating yet it can still be worked easily. It machines really good and is about a perfect choice for most parts as long as welding, Silver soldering or any other process involving high heat is not required. It also is not suitable for Color Case Hardening but will rust or hot blue just fine or it can be polished to a Nickel like finish. Darn good stuff really but these designs being discussed here are intended for low to medium pressure cartridges and 1018 is just fine for most of the parts, O1 for those requiring tool steel would be a good choice since it is easy to harden and temper with a minimum of tools and effort.
    The barrel is premade and I intend the rifle to be chambered in 357mag.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by cold1 View Post
    The barrel is premade and I intend the rifle to be chambered in 357mag.

    I assumed so but I was somewhat puzzled about the previous poster's concern over the chamber? Most any scratch build is going to use a donor barrel or a barrel blank so strength and/or heat treating is a non-issue. I use Green Mountain raw blanks that are actually little more than a piece of 4140 bar bored and rifled for the given caliber with no contour, breech stub, threading or chambering. These things are a real bargain as they are high quality and dirt cheap, some of them are less than 50 bucks!


    BTW, 357 mag is a neat choice for that project and it should make for a nice light&handy rifle, what do you have in mind for wood?
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  14. #14
    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldred View Post
    BTW, 357 mag is a neat choice for that project and it should make for a nice light&handy rifle, what do you have in mind for wood?
    Ohhhh, I havent quite made it that far yet. This is a heck of a learning curve in here for me. I am not a machinist and this is my first serious project in steel. There have already been some spots where i had to back up and have a "do over" and I am sure that there are more to come.

    As for wood, I have a friend that has a sawmill and bunches of lumber. The last project i had, he gave me spalted maple to work with. I dont know if I like the idea of that or just some plain maple. I know he just cut down a sycamore and will be milling that. Maybe some light colored wood with some walnut accents. I am just not sure but I am open to suggestions.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by cold1
    There have already been some spots where i had to back up and have a "do over" and I am sure that there are more to come
    LOL, welcome to the club!

    Seems that's something that plagues most of us!

    Maple is nice but is very hard and kind of difficult to work, IMHO nothing beats good dark Walnut for ease of shaping/working and finished appearance.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

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    Your wood must be the right moisture to get right. Even kiln dried was off. I built furniture and guns that never changed. I stack and sticker pre cut wood in my basement a month or more. Humidity averages 39- 40%. Buy a wood moisture meter.
    I have done wrong when in a hurry to build a lathe bench from oak stored in the barn for years. It shrunk in the basement. My new one is stable. Yes I have a dry basement. Nothing will rust either.
    I made this pie safe from white oak struck by lightning in the woods. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	190003The wood had to be stable. If you get green wood for a stock, you will be sorry.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Green Walnut is especially hard to deal with as it tends to crack when drying if not dried very slowly, once dry it's quite stable however and one of the reasons it's always been the top choice for gun makers, probably a great many more Walnut stocks out there than anything else and it's no wonder why. I have my Walnut stacked in a dry environment and it has been drying at least 4 years with some of it being 7 years old, this stuff is ready to work as it is. While testing with a meter is nice if one is available unless the history is unknown and there is reason to think the wood may still be somewhat green there is no real reason to invest in a moisture meter for a piece of Walnut like a gunstock that has been drying a couple of years or more as it should be will be stable enough.

    Cold1, if you would like a piece of that Walnut just drop me a PM, this is free of course I am not trying to sell anything.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  18. #18
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    Depends on conditions. I have wood in the barn i would not make anything with, some 30 years old too.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldred View Post
    Cold1, if you would like a piece of that Walnut just drop me a PM, this is free of course I am not trying to sell anything.
    Thats awfully generous of you sir. I will probably take you up on that offer when I get closer to stocking the Beast. I believe that will most likely be several months from now. I think that I will end up remaking every part of this action at least once before its over.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man cold1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44man View Post
    Your wood must be the right moisture to get right. Even kiln dried was off. I built furniture and guns that never changed. I stack and sticker pre cut wood in my basement a month or more. Humidity averages 39- 40%. Buy a wood moisture meter.
    I have done wrong when in a hurry to build a lathe bench from oak stored in the barn for years. It shrunk in the basement. My new one is stable. Yes I have a dry basement. Nothing will rust either.
    I made this pie safe from white oak struck by lightning in the woods. The wood had to be stable. If you get green wood for a stock, you will be sorry.
    I have a lot more experience with shaping wood than steel. I wont be using green wood for anything. Learned about that years ago when i was a kid. Thanks for the reminder!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check