Thursday, May 3, 2018

So what happens when you leave a blog unattended and grazing in the pasture?

Does it die?  Diminish?  Wander away?

Nope.  It stays put!

I figured this thing had gone the way of all flesh, but here it is, breathing on after I haven't been here in the last half-decade or so.  Weird...

Well, I've gotten divorced and remarried, and have a son now.  Life moves on, and I have been terribly busy!  : )

I'll be back before the next semi-decade passes.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Adjusting the trigger on your thompson Center icon or Venture rifle

*** Disclaimer*** I am NOT a gunsmith, just a shooter and hunter. What follows reflects my experience only. I assume no responsibility for the alterations you may or may not choose to make to your own rifle!

Now that that's out of the way...

A few days ago I bought a new Thompson/Center Venture rifle in 7mm Mag. A friend had bought one a couple of months ago, and the rifle's out-of-the-box accuracy was on par with the Savage rifles I have loved and shot for the past decade. My only complaint with his rifle (and mine) was the triggers. They were stiff and a little creepy. I dug around on the Internet for an afternoon, and couldn't find any solid advice about adjusting the triggers, and after-market triggers are non-existent. The only advice available was to dismantle the trigger, cut a loop out of the trigger spring, and re-assemble it. In the piece that follows, I try to go beyond that simple fix, and further modify the trigger to eliminate creep.

Step 1:

Begin by removing the barreled action from the stock. You'll have something that looks like this:

Step 2:

Drive out the two pins holding the trigger group to the action. They're labeled "trigger group removal pin" and "trigger group removal pin 2" in the photo. I have also labeled the over-travel screw and the creep screw for reference. We'll get to those at the end.

Now you have the trigger group:

Step 3:

Use a pick or X-acto knife to pick away the epoxy that seals these screws:


Step 4:

Remove the 3 C-clips that hold in the safety lever assembly, the sideplate locking pin, and the trigger pivot pin. Follow by removing the two sideplate locking screws:

 Step 5:

Set aside the sideplate to expose the internals:

 Step 6:

Remove the spring between the trigger and the sear (the trigger spring). Cut out one loop of the spring. Remember, you can't put the spring back together, so too little is better than cutting away too much and ruining the spring. Please note that where the spring contacts the trigger itself, there is a small guide plug. After cutting the spring, put that plug in the cut end, and re-install the spring upside down, so that the cut end and the plug ride on the trigger, not the sear.

Step 7:

Re-assemble the trigger group. Re-install it into the rifle. Use the Allen head screw labeled below to make the final adjustment to your trigger pull. It can be accessed with the trigger group mounted to the action by slipping the Allen wrench into the back of the action with the bolt removed.

 Step 8:

With the epoxy cleared away from earlier, you have access to the adjustment screws. If you look at both adjustment screws, they are a threaded shaft with a locking nut. If you pick away the epoxy at the outside end of the shaft, you'll discover that it is really an Allen head set screw.

To adjust either screw, loosen the nut, then use an Allen wrench to turn the adjustment screw. When you have the screw adjusted as you like, tighten the lock nut back, and add a drop of nail polish or Locktite Temp to prevent the screw from loosening later.

The screw at the front of the group controls over-travel (how far past breaking the trigger will continue moving before it is stopped). The over-travel on mine was fine, so I didn't adjust this feature.

The screw at the rear and bottom of the group controls creep (how far the trigger moves before it breaks). Mine was creepy from the factory, so I adjusted this one. I dialed the creep completely out by cocking the action, then tightening the screw until the trigger broke (making the gun fire). I then backed the screw out just a little and tightened the locking nut.

If anything is less than satisfactory, re-adjust until you have the trigger pull, creep, and over-travel to your liking.

After adjusting, I changed my Venture's trigger pull from a stiff 7 lbs to 2.5 pounds, and eliminated the distracting creep altogether.

Now My friend whose Venture hooked me in the beginning wants me to do his.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nessmuk Knives

Okay, I've wanted a Nessmuk knife since I started reading his turn-of-the-century articles on ultra-light camping and canoeing when I was in my early teens. George "Nessmuk" Sears wrote about a three-edge system that covered all of the tasks that come with camping and travelling for extended periods. He suggested a good multi-blade pocketknife of the stockman pattern, a curved fixed-blade knife of his own design, and a small double-bit hatchet.

The fixed-blade knife became known as a "Nessmuk" knife. It served primarily for skinning and cooking duties. The hatchet went to heavier cutting, especially brush or wood-gathering, and the stockman handled the rest.

A couple of weeks ago I finally got my hands on a custom Nessmuk. I found it on that electronic bazaar ebay, a beautiful Jeff White cherry-handled, high-carbon masterpiece. It came out of the shipping box wickedly sharp, and thus far has proved a most useful kitchen knife.

With any luck, I'll get to try out its skinning capabilities in a couple of weeks.

An Itty-Bitty Dream House

So For the past couple of weeks the Missus and I have been scheming to build ourselves a little house on the farm I own in Mercer County. We had tried to leverage the loan last year, but getting loans last spring was tricky at best, and despite both of us being well-employed and reliable folks, we just couldn't swing the loan, mostly because it was a construction loan, not a mortgage, (I intend to build the house myself) and the bank wanted a licensed contractor to do the work. I was in construction for a decade and a half, and I know what I'm doing. By building myself, I'll save a chunk on the finished house (nearly 40-50%).

So, this spring we're going to try again. I've been talking to a more understanding banker, and he tells me that the farm will collateralize the construction loan, even if I am the builder, and there shouldn't be any problem at all. I own the farm outright (60 or so acres) and the farm values at roughly twice what I'll need to borrow.

So, new bank, new year, and hopefully a new house.

I spent today roughing out an architectural model from the floorplans and elevation drawings (entirely my own design and drawing). Here are a couple of photos of the rough. I'll post more pix as I move the model closer to completion, and if all goes well, you'll get blogs about me building this jewel come May.

Friday, April 23, 2010

From Fritz in Afghanistan

From Fritz in Afghanistan:

"We finally have a reliable connection for outgoing mail, so I thought I would write a few letters before the mail trucks begin getting bombed. It really sucks out here; all we do is drive around and get blown up. A roadside bomb hit my truck about a month ago, but I walked away with only a concussion. The bomb was 60 pounds of HME, and the blast ripped the back axle clear away from the 'mine-resistant' truck. Every day my hatred for this place deepens. In January it got well below freezing at night, and now the noon temperatures push 140, while the nighttime temps drop to 110. I've been away from running water and electricity for months. We take baby-wipe baths every few days. When any of us get blown up, if we survive, we get to use the sat-phone for 15 minutes. I should be leaving this place in two months or so. I can't wait to get out of here. How are things back in Kentucky? We are literally cut off from the rest of the world here. I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits."


Sunday, February 14, 2010

A VERY pleasant surprise

So, I've been trying to buy American. It isn't easy. Today, I went to the gun show in Lexington, and had a great time. I stopped by a knife booth that carried Kershaw knives. Now, I love Kershaw knives. They are, hands down, the best production knives made. They are manufactured by Kai Cutlery of Japan, which doesn't fit my buy-American resolution, but I love the Kershaw Ken Onion designed "Leek" model. It's clean, efficient, and surgically sharp. Everything I want in a knife. I wanted the plain model, but the seller - from my native Harrodsburg no less! - was out, left only with models sporting various decorations.

I chose the model with an American flag on the handle - something I love dearly - and commented to the seller on the irony of buying a Japanese knife with an American flag logo.

He smiled, turned the knife over, and showed me the "Made in USA" tag on the blade. No kidding. My favorite knife is made right here at home. Kai holds the patents involved, but at least some of the Leeks are made domestically. I got exactly what I wanted and got to support an American manufacturer and a small-business entrepreneur from my hometown.

What a fantastic day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Home-made fly-tying vise

Sure, I could buy a fly-tying vise, but why would I? I'm cheap, and I'm a tinkerer. I'd rather make one. More importantly, I need to find uses for some of the junk my relentless scavenging/salvaging produces. I'll admit it; I'm a hoarder. Other, sensible, folks (including my wife) see junk for what it is: crap that gets in the way and needs to be disposed of. I, however, see a potential tool or widget waiting to be born. To protect my reputation as an eccentric (not a lunatic) I need to put some of my salvaged junk to use every so often. This was an opportunity.

I have about a dozen sets of hemostats I picked up at a gun show for 8 bucks - after a little haggling... I chose one of the short-nosed sets with an exceptionally stout spring. There's my vise. Next, I needed a way to fasten them to the top of my desk in a stable fashion. I scrounged an old footless clamp used to hold an architect's lamp to a table top out of the trash on an afternoon walk last fall. My wife rarely accompanies me on these walks. I can't fathom why. I also salvaged the non-functional lamp. The lamp needed re-wiring, which took me an hour. Rather than use the included-in-the-garbage clamp base, I made one of a block of wood that I screwed to my workbench.

The footless clamp was ideal, except that had no bottom screw-foot, and was not made to hold a hemostat. I made a non-scuff foot by soldering a flat-washer to a short section of brass tubing that will slip over the screw shank. I then had, for all intents and purposes, an aluminum C-Clamp.

Next I filled in the tube in the spine with epoxy and a wood dowel.

The next step involved cutting the loop from one side of the hemostats.

Afterward, I drilled the lamp base to admit both tines of the cut hemostat handle. Notice that I also notched the top of the tube. This gave me three points of contact between hemostat and base, making the attachment quite sturdy.

I epoxied the hemostat to the base and let it cure overnight. I finished the affair off with a coat of black paint to the base and a swatch of adhesive-backed felt to keep the base from scuffing my table top.

I've used it to tie a dozen or so new flies, and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I only hope my flies work as well...