Saturday, 28 December 2013

Off Hunting and General Practice.

Any time i Can.

Testing her Ladyship's SMK 15.

I like a bit of hunting, it's very relaxing and helps relieve stress, it helps with self discipline and concentration, and when finally you get to take a successful shot you feel you have made an achievement and get to make a lovely stew to boot. You have to put in the practice before using any air rifle on any prey, and that in itself is the the best and most enjoyable part. Last year i only shot about 10 bunnies and the same in woodies which all ended up in a stew or curry, even the dogs and ferrets got to eat what was left over so nothing went to waste. I even got a couple of hares as there were a lot about last year, though they are pretty hard to kill cleanly past 20 yards with a sub 12 ft/lb air rifle so i tend to leave them be.

Okay pooche, let me get a lead and some rifles.

After fixing up one of the many air rifles i appear to be amassing i have to take it to my permission to test, as we have a neighbor who moans and complains every time he thinks he hears one of my air rifles fire in the back garden. Luckily this permission is literally on my door step and is accessable within minutes of walking out the front door, so for the sake of diplomacy and keeping her ladyship happy that's where i go.

For testing, practice, and general plinking i usually take one or more of the dogs with me as they get a bit nutty being indoors all the time, it's a great excuse to get out with a rifle and they are well behaved and resting behind me when i eventually get down to actual shooting. 

A 30 yard shot to a target on the tree ahead.

I always check around to see if it's safe to take the shot before i do, any body could wander into the woods without you being aware of it. Having a keen eared dog with me is a bonus in this situation which luckily hasn't as yet been put to the test, i've been going there two years now and in all that time only come across one other person and that was while still walking the dogs.

Edge of a field, good for stalking and good for 'Scatterbone' to go rabbiting.

I tend to have a slope of earth as the back drop as well as a lot of trees, though i feel happier seeing that the pellet can only hit ground if i miss a target. This is a safe shooting practise and takes no extra effort prepare in advance, it would be bloody stupid to have a hedge as a back drop as you can't see where your pellet goes on the other side.

Just part of the woods that has a slope i can use for a back drop.

The woods around the fields i can hunt in are perfect for this, plus there are plenty of sticks to throw for the dogs before i get down to shooting. I find the trees handy for support, range finding and trajectory, sighting scopes, and attaching targets on to, though i usually take a resettable knock down target with me most of the time. 

My resettable target needs a repaint i reckon.

It's a very relaxing place to be and very sheltered, it can be blowing a gale up the top in the village but down in the trees there is hardly a breeze.

The trees encompass a number of fields where i can stalk prey or build a hide. The crop fields are ideal for catching bunnies on their way back home or going out to raid the crops and woodies down from the trees in the morning, i can also set up a longer range at the edge of fields with a safe back drop which tends to be plywood then a stone wall.There is also a nice large field of grass which is splendid for a spot of lamping, though in high summer the grass is a bit long for hunting. If i'm just out to put a couple of rifles over the chronoscope, this is where i go. It's sheltered, nice and light, and the view is amazing.

One of many field looking out from the edge, natural cover all around the edge.

There are a lot of deer on the land which sensibly keep their distance and loads of pheasants which don't, the later are kept, fed, and shot in season by the land owner and his buddies. Badgers and foxes are seen on a regular basis along with a couple of birds of prey, all in all it's a pretty cool place to hang out with an air rifle and the pooches. Due to the land owner and his buddies out shooting, the rabbits are a bit shy by the time i get there, but i only want the odd one for the pot and this puts my skills to the test which is a good thing.

Targets, pellets, and a couple of rifles ready for some practice whilst the dogs rest behind me.
 So this is where i go with my air rifles and i count myself lucky to have it, when the land owner is out shooting i stay away but in two years this has only happened twice and is no biggie. I just grab the dog leads, a rifle, and off i go.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe. 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Field Cutlery, part 2, or 3 maybe

Having made and shaped the blade and tang of one knife i thought i would try and make a few more, as it would cost me the same in electricity to temper three as it would one.

So i made three to the same set up as before and lit up the wood burner in the van
Wood burner heating up.
with the door shut and the draw opened full i would produce the highest heat for making the steel go red to orange hot.

With the door shut there is a good draw making it hotter.

to get yellow hot  i would need to use coke or a more solid, hotter burning wood than beech, but with the door shut and the baffles open i could at least case harden the metal.

This was actually orange hot though it looks red here.
There are plenty of plans on youtube to make a forge from wheel hubs and i have already started sourcing materials, this is a pretty slow process as i tend to have a lot of commitments with family and work.

Oil waiting at my feet.
At the back of the van i had a small bucket of the mystery oil waiting to quench and harden the red/orange hot knives,

In goes one of the heated knives.
this luckily was one arm movement from fire to oil so the metal lost no heat or colour. There was no flame from the oil but a lot of smoke, so maybe it was not hot enough or hopefully it's hydrolic oil.

There was a lot more smoke than this at first, i had to shut the wood burner door before i took the picture.
I had shaped three blades with full tangs, one with 3 mm thick steel and two with 5 mm steel and all came out nicely oil blacked.

Simple test was to scratch the hardened metal with the already hardened steel of the chisel, there were no scratch marks on the blades but a little on the tangs. Success.

Once they had cooled i used some wet and dry to remove the oil black from the blades, then went into the kitchen and turned the oven on to 200 degrees celcius. 

Yes, it's a picture of the oven.
It just needed turning up from 100 degrees as i had been making Fimo dread beads, people like them and i enjoy making them once i get my lazy ass around to it.

Owl and badger dread beads.
With the three knives on a baking tray i put them in the hottest part of the oven and left them for one and a half hours, this tempers the hardened steel and gives it some springiness.

In they go.
When they came out the steel had turn to a yellowy colour, this if i remembered correctly means they had tempered correctly.

Not the best background to show the yellow tint to the steel.
Some people recommend doing this proceedure again, but for now i was happy enough with the results. 

Once they had cooled they were transfered to the shed where i cleaned them up with sand paper and wet and dry, this part is one of the more time consuming aspects of making knives. As a test i took the smaller two and a half inch blade and gave it an edge, i the tested it on hard wood, leather and whatever else came to hand. I was happily relieved to see that the blade kept it's edge after various tests, and i sat back and admired my work for a while.

Once i had stopped being a smug git i started too polish up the blades by working down through different grades of abrasive papers and clothes, i left the tangs clean and sanded waiting for the scales to be attached. As i write this up i am trying out different ideas and materials for the scales, so hopefully in the new year i will be posting a blog about it.

It's been fun so far.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe    

Friday, 13 December 2013

Webley and Scott Hawk Mk ll, part2

So here is part two, but not as soon as i would have liked. 

Sorry, but there is loads of stuff to do before Xmas.

Having already made a good piston head seal with two Rubber Orings There are a few things to fix still before she is any where near her former glory, also i would like to see if using one rubber O ring gives better compression through less friction. But for now lets do two O rings and different main springs and breech seals if needs be.

Two under sized O rings are stretched to make the perfect seal.

The main spring is pretty well worn but luckily it is the same one that is used in all the Relum models, and i have three of those sitting around so one would make a better replacement till i can afford a new one. There is no spring guide in the Mk ll's and lll's, and that is why the spring was so warped down by the end cap. The metal tab on the safety slide has snapped off, so the safety doesn't work, spot welding a new piece on and grinding to shape would work, but i'll maybe leave it as is for now.

Zoom in on this one to see the broken bit of metal that was the safety tab.

The stock is most definatly off a Mk lll because when i compared the Chamber's diagrams of all three Mk's, i could see the end cap was the shorter Mk ll, and the stock has the cut out for the longer Mk lll curved end cap with the safety to the side. 

Stone me, the stock has got the safety cut out for a Mk lll. ie. There fore i think, i'm bodged.

Some one had chiseled out the space for the safety tab at the rear of the Mk ll end cap, also the front sight is not a Mk lll and for all i know the barrel and front sight could even be off a Mk l.

Okay, it's not the rear sight. But is the front sight not a solid bit of kit. 70's Britain for you. And it also is a dead give away to the fact that it's a Mk II.

 Most annoying though is the fact that the rear sight doesn't adjust for windage, but with a bit of research i'm sure i'll get that sorted eventually.

The Hawk was sitting in the corner of the kitchen, so i had better get it together sooner than later

So it's time to get the Relum main springs out, shim the breech seal if necessary, and see what this little pup can do. Second hand spares should be pretty plentiful i reckon, because if you where a kid in the 70's you either had a Hawk or a Meteor. Unless your mum paid weekly for a Relum from a Kay's catalog, and there are bloody no end of Relums Knocking about.

I knocked up a small top hat out of delrin to give the old spring a little boost, i would have liked to have made a short spring guide but i was now out of delrin.

Oooh look, bendy spring. But it's got a top hat.

 I then took out all sharp edges in the compression tube with a small grinding bit in my Draper mini drill, then gave it another good clean out. 

Seriously now, if you don't want to damage your seals, just grind the hell out off every inside edge.

Smearing some Abbey SM50 between the two O ring seals the piston slipped into the chamber a lot easier now, and just before the piston finally went in i applied a decent swab of Abbey LT2 grease around the end. The piston moved down the tube with the slightest bit of assistance now, and stop dead when i put my finger over the transfer port. Now that is the sort of seal i want in a springer, one that seals air tight but creates as little friction as possible.

Abbey LT2 grease liberally smeared over the top hat and old spring and in that went, followed by the end cap which went on with a small amount of pressure by hand allowing the pin to slip in.

Preload with original spring and top hat.

The trigger safety, sear, and tension spring were put in the housing and with the aid of a small screw driver were aligned so the pins went in, followed by the trigger and it's tension spring which just left the circlips. Greasing the breech, breech detent, and spring i pushed the breech into the forks and lined up the pivot pin holes, 

Breech, Breech detent, Spring, and forks.

I put the geased pivot pin in one side of the forks and pushed down on the compression tube and barrel till the pivot pin holes aligned so the pivot pin pushed all the way through.

Lots of pushing, shoving, jigging, and tapping and it's all back together. Someone said, 'measure twice, cut once'. I say, 'just tap gently'.
 Sweet, the rifle's back together and all i needed to do was put the stock on.

I really don't know what this picture is doing here but it looks the part.

I took her out to the shed and put her over the chronoscope, using H&N field trophies which sat deep in the barrel i got an average of 6 ft/lb. This was good, with a decent spring and a new or shimmed breech seal i hope to get 10.5 ft/lb which was what they did from factory.

Highest power i could get with the original spring and two new rubber O ring seals.

Life moves on and several days later i take the spring out and replace it with the spring from my old stockless Relum Telly, i had to take out the trigger and safty catch in order to take the spring out.

There you go, Relum without a mainspring and a hawk with a beefier mainspring. This was done while i cooked dinner for my wife.

 With the longer stiffer spring out of the Relum the Hawk is a lot firmer to cock, this is an addition of six coils taking it from 31 too 37 and two inches of preload. I used the repaired spring compressor with the thread directly on the bottom flat half of the end cap, i could of built a wooden block to support it but it was easy enough just supporting it with my hand. I forgot to get a picture of this as i was cooking dinner at the same time, so i hope i explained it well enough.

Well slap me with a kipper, the stronger spring boosted the muzzle velocity to 9 ft/lb with 7 grain wadcutters and 8ft/lb with H&N trophies, you can't say that is not a result.

Well you have heard my crap enough for now, lets just look at some pictures of a freshly semi tuned rifle barrel and a chronoscope.
Premier's never let you down, i should really get some magnum's as they are not so heavy as these mother's
Two ft/lb if not more of an improvement.
For some reason i can alway's  depend upon these bugger's  for never taking me over the legal limit. But if you put them in a PCP, watch out.
7 grain, just like hobbies and always the one to test by.
Not too bad for a heavy pellet out of a springer, but Crosman's will come up trumps every time.

Oh, the variation, oh the different pellets. Oh lets just put a new spring in her and see what that does, at 9 ft/lb she is shooting well sweet for a .177 with an old Relum spring.

Here you go, 10 FPS faster than the lower out put with thes wadcutters and neigh on 9 ft/lb.

Well now, here's a number if you can read it, one of many with Webley.

Lots of numbers make your air rifle one of a kind.

 All i know about air rifle serial numbers is that with my Air Arms PCP Shamal,  the first 65 were prototypes, making mine the 6th production model.

I just thought i had to mention that as it is one of the prime movers in my air rifle collection, and she is running as sweet as the day she first fired a shot in the hands of her new owner. I really hope i can get the Hawk Mk II back to it's former glory, along with the extra barrel, original stock, and it's original power output (If not more).

Oh Goat's Testicals, I've already said goodbye.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Webley and Scott Hawk Mk II

A blast from my early teens

After removing the rust from the Webley Hawk and taking a closer look at the name engraved in the top of the action, memories started to trickle in to my mind of using this air rifle as a teenager. Did my uncle have one he use to let me shoot up Lickey Hills?, or was it the one me and Paul Pedley used when we skived off school and take down Langly Mill to blast cans with? But there's no mistaking it, i have had dealings with this air rifle in my youth. So when this dawned on me it was a no brainer, this is the one to fix up first.

For now i just want to clean her up and reseal the piston and breech as the rifle was only putting out two ft/lb, if things look promising i might then invest in a new main spring, remove the paint and blue it, sand the stock, treat with oil and possibly varnish.

First i removed the stock which is held on with a philips head bolt at the front of the trigger guard and two longer philips head screw bolts that run 45 degrees upwards on the fore stock.

Webley Hawk Mk ll, the best Christmas present a big kid could get in the70's.

Using 0000 wire wool and gun oil i removed all the rust from the action and barrel, this left about 50% of the original enamaling that had not come off with rust and general wear. 

Looks almost respectable once the rust had been removed.

There was a long crack in the stock running from the end of the cocking slot to the side of the trigger guard, i eased the crack apart and let Locktite run into as much of it as i could then pressed together for ten minutes. This works amazingly well from past experience, and any excess gets sanded of when treating the stock.

 The trigger housing is welded onto the end of the compression tube, there are three pins that hold the trigger, sear, and the safety slide which are secured with circlips.

Removing the circlips then drifting the pins out allows the trigger and its tension spring to be removed then the sear, safety, and sear tension spring can slide out, i thought it best to take a photo so it would be easier to remember how to put it back together,

The tab that bends 90 degrees to hold the trigger in place on the safety slide had snapped off

The breech was loose in the forks so i drifted the pivot pin out and applied pressure to the forks in a vice in small stages,  using rubber inner tube to protect the metal.

The amount of old British air rifles from the 70's i have to do this to is unbeleivable

Now it fits nice and snug with no play what so ever.

No play in those forks any more

I don't know what it is about British air rifles not using Screw bolts for the breech pivot, it's one of the things that do let these excellent air rifles down.

A new breech catch spring might be in order, but the old one will do for now.

I was very careful to catch the breech catch pin and spring, but luckily it was not under to much tension.

I also noticed the .177 barrel was moving in the breech block slightly, this just needed a hex head grub screw on top of the breech block tightening to hold it firmly.

A hex grub screw holds the .177 barrel in place, two small hex bolts hold the rear sight on as well.

The Webley Hawk Mk11 came with two barrels originally you could interchange, but alas i only have the .177 with this one.

The end cap came of really easily as i was able to push the retaining pin out with no pressure on the end, the spring was in pretty bad shape at one end with zero preload overall.

Nice solid end cap, but a spring guide would help here for sure.

The piston is quite weighty so doesn't need a spring with loads of preload as a rule, and at first glance all lubrication had dried up.

One grubby piston with the knackered main spring next to it.

The whole of the inside of the compression tube was generally grubby along with all of its components.

The hand tells how dried and grubby it all was.

There are two piston rings made of PTFE or something similar, these had become very worn over the years and quite brittle. I broke one when i removed it but the other came out in one piece, they cost about £ 20 for spares so i think i will try rubber O rings. whether it's two O rings or one O ring and the undamaged PTFE ring, it all depends on which combination gives the least friction.

PTFE  piston rings beyond repair, 19 mm ID and 2.5mm thick. However a 17 mm ID x 2.5 mm rubber O ring makes a good replacement as the 19 mm ID was to big in rubber.

Now it was time to give the compression tube a clean with white spirits and OOOO wire wool, and definately scrub the piston down more importantly. Then white spirits on a cloth to remove any wire wool bits left behind, this was done with the aid of a rod and tape to secure the wool and cloth on.

White spirits and wire wool shift all grime, but does tend to struggle with disintegrated buffer washers on BSA's.

Now it was all nice and clean i spent the next hour polishing the compression chamber and piston with Autosol metal polish, it was well worth it as they were gleaming at the end of it.

Smooth and shiny inside and out, and a bloody aching arm.

I slipped two O rings onto the piston and tried to see if there was much resistance, though this was after i filed all the sharp edges off before i had cleaned and polished the rifle admittedly. The piston moved down the chamber with about two pounds of pressure, and moved a tiny bit and stopped still when i tried with my finger over the transfer port.
The transfer port was looking okay but i decided to rejuvenate it with some silicone grease, I also applied a smear to the piston O rings as well.

Logun silicone grease protects and rejuvenates rubber seals, ideally used on PCP's but it's always done my breech seals the world of good.

For now i'm going to make some slip washers and a delrin top hat and use the old spring, if it all looks good then i might invest in a new spring and treat the stock and metal work. So that's it for part one for now, part two will be real soon as all the rifle parts are sitting in a box on the kitchen table and getting in the way.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe