Gary Chillingworth shares some useful information that came from you, the reader
Gary Chillingworth expands on casting a weight - with used pellets
Over the last few months, I have been having a go at modifying my standard TX200 stock. I have made a hamster and a cheek piece formed from movable Kydex, and even forged a weight – without burning my house down – to help with the gun’s balance, but even though these items have been functional, they have not been what you would call ‘aesthetically pleasing’. Some people have even said that they were a little bit rubbish.
Now, I have had some great feedback from some of our readers, but others have emailed me to say that I should be ashamed of what I have done. I have disgraced the name of the handyman, and I should hang my head in shame. It is true that I am more Reg Prescott – and if you know who that is, you are officially old – than Tommy Walsh when it comes to wielding a hammer, but luckily, some of you have written to me and shown me how it should be done properly and that is what this month’s article is about. There is no doubt that I learned a huge amount from messing about with Kydex and smelting lead, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t pass on information shared, so for this month, I’m letting readers show how it should be done, and passing on their ideas and a few tips and tricks.
One of the first readers to email me was Richard Nash who is very well known in the shooting world, and one of the top gunsmiths around. If you need a spring rifle tuned or a PCP fixed, then Richard is your man and you can contact him at www. dvschesterfield.wix.com.
BULLET CASE POSTS
Richard liked my idea of making a hamster, but he has come up with a fantastic idea for replacing the carbon-fibre posts used to hide the securing bolts. Richard’s idea is to use spent bullet casings instead of the carbon, and they look stunning. Depending on how deep you want your hamster, you can use anything from a .308 Win to a 45ACP and if you are an FT shooter, and if you could source them, I’m sure you could even use a .50 BMG or a .338 Lapua.
The bullet casings have the primer, propellant and the projectile removed, usually by firing the gun, and the area where the primer sits is then expanded to allow the threaded bolt to fit through. Not only do they look stunning, but they also give a firm grip, and Richard is looking into supply kits for shooters with the brass polished up and all the fixings to attach it to your rifle. So, if you fancy one, drop him a line. Mine is currently being attached to my HW100.
The second email I had was from a shooter who was a little bit miffed that I had drilled
“Richard’s idea is to use spent bullet casings instead of the carbon, and they look stunning”
holes into the stock of my beautiful HW100. He was incensed that I had destroyed its flowing lines to fit a cheek piece made from Kydex, and at the end of the email he stated that I should walk through the streets of Braintree ringing a bell and shouting the word ‘shame’. Luckily, he didn’t suggest that I should do this naked, but he did make a very good point that not everyone wants to start drilling holes into a rifle, and this got me thinking. Is there a simple way to attach something that will work as a cheek piece, but not cause any damage to the rifle? You can go online and purchase a leather or Neoprene cheek piece that will attach to the stock, but the problem with these is cost, and you cannot buy one that is bespoke to your gun. So, as I am the king of the penny pinchers, I asked around and was told that one of the best things to use is pipe lagging.
If you go to any major DIY store (Wickes, B& Q, Homebase etc.) you can pick up a 1m length of pipe lagging with a 28mm internal core for about £1. All you need to do is cut a 6” length and place it over the comb of your stock. You can fix it in place with double- sided tape or Velcro, and either leave it as is, or cover it with 1mm thick neoprene, duct tape or any form of sticky-backed plastic that you have. I used carbon wrap that I purchased from eBay for about £ 3. In hindsight, I would probably have gone for the neoprene because it’s less slippery and attaches really easily. You can also paint this type of foam, but you have to use water-, acrylic- or latex-based paints because oil- or solvent-based paints will melt the foam. Obviously, make sure that any paint you use is waterproof, or the first time you shoot in the rain, you will have a very bad day as you watch the paint from your cheek piece start to run all over your rifle.
For my HW100, I needed a bit more height than the standard insulation would give me, so I just cut another slice of foam and using some contact adhesive (Evostick), I attached it on top of the main piece. The other thing to remember, is that when you attach the foam to the stock with the double-sided tape or sticky Velcro, the adhesive could leave a mark if you have a varnished stock. So, it would be a good idea to place some of the tape on a piece of wood varnished with the same type that you have on your gun, to see if there is any damage when you remove it.
I hate to admit it, but I actually prefer this cheek riser to the one I made with the Kydex because it’s very comfortable and fits my fat face well. Also, it cost less than £ 5 and I can make three or four of them from a single length of lagging.
“as I am the king of the penny pinchers, I asked around and was told that one of the best things to use is pipe lagging”
The next item that I was contacted about was the lead weight that I cast. A few readers have asked if there is a different way to add lead to the interior of a stock, without having to destroy one of the wife’s best saucepans by melting lead in it.
Again, for this one, I have had some great information from our readers and some help from Richard Nash. As you may remember, I used a tube to create a positive to cast my lead weight. It was the sort used to hold vitamin C tablets, but any form of tube is fine. The weight that I cast weighed in at just under 600grams but you could get a mild steel bar about the same length and this would weigh about 400grams. You could also take the tube and fill it with compacted sand or cement dust, and that would weigh about 300 grams, but the best idea came from Mr Nash – and this was a real ‘ Homer Simpson moment’ because when Richard suggested it, I slapped myself on the head and shouted, ‘ D’oh’.
WASTE NOT …
Richard told me that he gets his lead from his pellet trap in the garden. When a pellet hits a steel plate at speed, it partially flattens and is perfect for using in weights. I went to my trap and – lo and behold – there was over a kilo of lead in the base. I laid the pellets out and with a big thumper I flattened the pellets as much as I could, and filled the Vitamin C tube; it came in at 500grams. I then emptied the tube, mixed up a large amount of epoxy resin, mixed this with the flattened pellets and compacted it into the tube. I left it overnight and the next day cut the tube away. I now had a solid core of lead mixed with rock-hard epoxy and no casting. I would still say casting the weight is the best way to do it, but the pellet and epoxy is certainly a close second.
I usually say; please contact me at garychilling[email protected] and let me know what you want me to look at or give me any advice you have, but what I don’t always say is how much I appreciate you taking the time to write. I am learning all the time, and I certainly don’t know everything or even 5% of everything. I look on forums and at people like Jim Tyler and I am amazed at the knowledge that is out there and it’s fair to say that without your help, most months I would not have anything to write about.
So, if there is something you want me to try and do or something that would just be fun to look at, please drop me a line and I will see what I can do.
If you have any ideas, or if there is anything you want me to look at, please drop me a line at garychilling[email protected]
These. 308 posts are the perfect height for me
When it’s covered in carbon wrap, it looks the part
The M6 bolt fits perfectly through the neck of the .308 case
The rough form of the lagging looks poor
These. 308 case posts are the perfect height for me
All you need is a tube, old pellets and epoxy
I made this billet from old uncompressed pellets because I wanted a lighter bar
Place it in the tube and tamp it down
Combine the two parts of the epoxy and mix it into the pellets - use gloves!