Early summer progress update

Things have moved ahead. It’s now three months since I came to this unit and this is how it’s gone…

The first task was getting the desk and all the benches up and running.

By far the most time-consuming aspect was unpacking the 150 or so cardboard boxes. How I crammed much of the above into an 11′ x 18′ garage beats me.

I’m OK at “improvisational carpentry”, but for this kind of job I needed to hire someone.

These images convey the emerging premises, but not the hundreds of hours of unpacking, moving, sawing, drilling and hammering and swearing involved.

I like to use angles, so decided to start by placing the counter in the same plane as the entrance.

The joiner had to contend with a few issues in this former MoD building, not least of all a floor that isn’t perfectly flat.

One of my pet hates is having everything flat against four walls, so Bench B (left) picks up the same angle.

It was important to get the scaling right, even if that meant using nearly half the available space in creating a light and attractive retail space.

Right-hand display partition completed and front of counter decorated to complement the top.

It’s interesting how ideas form when you’re planning. The colour scheme takes its cues from one of my favourite rifles, the Marlin 1895SBL in 45-70.

Marlin 1895SBL in 45-70.

“What’s your favourite firearm” is a question I can never answer, but this would probably be in the top five.

A very attractive blend of feral grey and beige on that gun.

Not having the space too enclosed has also allowed us to make more of the existing lighting. When you walk in, you don’t feel like you’ve entered a broom cupboard.

Left-hand and rear partitions now up.

There’s a lot more work to be done, decorating and dressing the retail area but the joinery work is almost complete.

Next, the metal fabrication work.

Hello sir!

It’s been a while (again) since I posted, but the last few weeks have been something of a blur. Like most people, I’ve done a few house moves, but never a double move wherein home goes to one place and business another.

I’ve worked for myself for about 25 years and always based from my home. However, as last year drew to a close I had to finally concede that I was tired of having everything under one roof. I was finally ready to make home the place I go to relax.

OK, where are we up to? Well, to begin with, we needed to sort out the floor in the new unit. It had suffered a bit over the years and some parts needed repairing and the whole thing needed a coat of paint. My friend Mike, bless him, came all the way over from Oxford to help me for a weekend and made light work of dealing with the floor issues.

The paint we used was excellent but REALLY whiffy. Mike coped OK but I ended up high as a kit and looking like a mad thing.

The next time I went back (on my own the following week) to paint the rest of the floor, I kitted myself out with a proper fume mask.

Once done, I could start ferrying stuff across to the unit and preempt some of the hassle of the impending move. Some. When that day finally came, for the first time ever I copped out and hired a professional removals firm.

Then came the blurry bit as I sorted out both home and unit. Let’s just say it went OK, but I wouldn’t want to repeat the experience anytime soon.

As well as being a firearms dealer, I also translate and edit text for people. Throughout the entire move period, I had several deadlines to take care of, plus a gazillion micro-decisions to take about how the new RFD (registered firearms dealership) will work.

First things first, I needed to get my office desk all put back together quickly so I could continue working on my edits and administer anything else that needed doing, without the hassle of relying on just a laptop on my knee.

Then the unit needed some work doing on all its doors to make them more secure, make them work properly and give the place the beginnings of a facelift.

Next, up went Bench B, the largest of the three I currently have. You may recall if you follow us on Facebook, that Bench B was a pig to disassemble and not that much fun to put back together. When you’ve just inserted your hundred-and-fiftieth screw lying on your back under the thing, you start to seriously contemplate using it for firewood.

Bench B then needed refinishing as the varnish I’d used before wasn’t suitable. Three coats later, we are now ready to actually start UNPACKING BOXES!

Next it will be Bench A (the reloading bench), at which point I can start thinking about resuming life as a target shooter.

JDR GUNS relocating

Three months since my last post on here – yikes! Mind you, there’s been more than enough going on.

It’s finally become obvious that the RFD can’t continue in its present cramped space. The addition of a third bench made it clear that there just isn’t enough room any more.

The case prep bench; the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Farewell, JDR Mk IV

I’ve been very happy to run JDR GUNS from my home, but the time has finally come to give it some real elbow room.

Cozy, yes, but sooo cramped.

Every inch was packed with gun-related stuff. There was still theoretically room for another couple of safes, but you know when you can’t adequately photograph a space that it’s overstuffed.

The loading bench. Rammed with stuff.

Welcome, JDR MK V!

I’ve worked from home in one capacity or another for the past 25 years, eight of them with this firm. The temptation to always be on duty is just too great, so the time has come to separate work from home and have clear demarcation lines for each.

New digs!

There it is, all 900 square feet of it. I don’t mind admitting, that is shockingly large by my standards. But, let’s be realistic, I already had about 25% of an industrial unit packed into an 11′ x 18′ garage.

Welcome, JDR Mk V.

A work in progress

We take possession in the next week or so and work will then commence to bring the space up to the required standard for police approval and licensing as new premises for JDR GUNS.

It’s likely to take a few months to complete, so I hope you’ll enjoy following our progress as we work towards the goal of reopening in these new premises. More details about the location and so forth nearer the time.

Bafflement

This weekend was a little different to normal. A local gun club I’ve joined was upgrading its range and needed a few spare bodies to help out. I don’t have any particular skills in fabrication or carpentry (just basic bodging) so didn’t really know what to expect.

The business end of an indoor range. Oddly like a theatre, but no velvet curtains.

As it turned out, I had one of the most enjoyable and rewarding days for some while. I’m still sore and stiff from lugging stuff about, but there’s nothing like a work day to get to know some of the other guys a bit better.

No matter how hard I try, I always want to look at the arc.

Judging from the comprehensive drawings that had been produced, a great deal of preparation and planning had gone into this work. Today’s task was to ensure the safest possible conditions for the club’s pistol shooters by installing a new set of baffles.

“Warning: emits stars and bangs.” What did he have for breakfast?

Even so, there were a few IKEA moments – ones when the blood drains from everyone’s faces because they think they’ve assembled everything back to front. Thankfully, we hadn’t. This structure probably tops half a ton, so not exactly Meccano.

Adjusting the angle on the big steel baffle before fixing it in place.

The really nice thing was that, if things did go slightly awry, nobody got rattled or lost their cool. It was all puzzled out by discussion, suggestion, trial and error and (much as I loath buzzwords) teamwork. There was also that kind of blokish banter (sadly not much of it printable) which made the time pass easily.

The other end of the steel sheet. It took at least seven of us to position it.

Firing ranges, by their very nature, need a fair bit of maintenance. Frames get shot to bits, debris needs regular clearing out and equipment has to be checked and periodically replaced. This project is part of an ongoing makeover to enhance safety and security at the range.

And in it goes. Palpable relief all round.

After a few hours’ work, the steelwork was safely in place. Supported at each end, bolted in multiple locations and then welded just to be absolutely sure. Now it’s in, it’s not going anywhere.

Job done! So much so that it looks like it’s always been there.

Members like me with muzzle-loading revolvers and long-barrel pistols and revolvers can now resume their sport. It’s a great little 25-yard indoor range and ideal for gallery load development.

More of that as it unfolds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pimp your revolver

The makeover I gave my own Taurus has stirred some interest amongst  our customers and we are starting to get requests to sort out and smarten up people’s revolvers.


Taurus has been the default long-barrel revolver (LBR) on the UK market for many years; nearly every LBR you’ll see at a range will be one.

Unfortunately, although resembling Smith & Wesson in their aesthetic, the Tauruses don’t have the same fit and finish as a Smith.  I’ve come across quite a few that needed attention from brand new; even some that have been laid to one side because they just don’t work properly.

True, these guns have their idiosyncrasies. That horrible cylinder detent and spring that loves to work its way into the mechanism. Rough finishing inside the cylinder axis leading to ejection issues. Overly tight-fitting side-plates. Coarsely finished forcing cones. A closure mechanism that clogs after a couple of dozen rounds. And the nasty rubber grips that sting the web of your hand when firing.

But even at their current prices, the Tauruses are still a fraction of the cost of an actual converted Smith & Wesson, if you can find one at all. Made to work properly and given the love and attention they need, these revolvers can be great shooters.

That’s why I’m rolling out a service aimed specifically at these guns; to make them look and shoot better than when they left the factory.

All sorts of options are available to bring your gun the look and feel that you want. Matching rear extensions and ejector rods, a selection of hardwood or laminated grips, recrowning the muzzle and polishing the forcing cone. And not forgetting, polishing of the whole gun to a mirror shine.

Why not give your Taurus the makeover it deserves?

For more info email me on: jon@jdrguns.com

Taurus completed

Finally, it’s done. The Taurus M66 in 44 Magnum that I was polishing (and improving internally) is complete.

It took a couple of weeks of polishing and other cosmetic work, then our gunsmith added an 11-degree recrown, a new ejector rod and counterweight and a polish of the forcing cone.

Finally, I added some unusual Hogue grips in laminated hardwood.

I won’t waffle on. I’d rather let the photos speak for themselves…

 

NEWSFLASH – exciting new lines on offer

I’m truly delighted to announce that JDR GUNS has been offered the chance to deal in goods from Highland Outdoors, the UK’s wholesaler of Howa, Rossi, Webley & Scott and Lithgow rifles, Sig Sauer and Nikko Stirling optics, Sierra and Nosler projectiles, Aimsport and Sonic suppressors and myriad other brands.

It might not seem much. Retailers get trade accounts with wholesalers every day of the week all over the world but, same as when we were accepted by Raytrade (wholesalers of Marlin, Remington, Barnes and much else besides), this opens up a whole new world of opportunity to bring quality goods to our customers and I am very pumped about it all. It means I can take the business in new directions which weren’t possible a year ago. It also means there’s one more name on the map supplying this range of shooting goods in the UK.

I won’t be adding every single item available to us on the JDR GUNS website, so please remember that we can now offer:

  • Howa rifles, combos, rifle actions and accessories
  • Rossi rifles
  • Lithgow rifles
  • Armsan shotguns
  • Webley & Scott rifles, shotguns and air guns
  • GRS rifle stocks
  • Aimsport and Sonic sound moderators
  • Nikko Stirling optics
  • Sig Sauer optics
  • Australian Munitions
  • Sierra and Nosler projectiles
  • Buffalo River cabinets
  • Buffalo River knives and accessories

Incidentally, we’ve just installed a large Buffalo River gun safe and I can vouch for them being well worth the candle.

We’re based in west Norfolk, near Fakenham and customers can visit by appointment.

Jon

Taurus shine-up

This is a UK-legal Taurus long-barrelled revolver, or LBR. The configuration you see here, with 12″ barrel and peculiar “dough paddle” at the rear, is the only lawful remainder of centrefire pistol shooting in this country.

Made in Brazil, these revolvers have been a staple of British LBR shooting for decades.

There are other types of LBR out there, such as Alphas and, very rarely, converted Smith & Wessons, but most long-barrel shooters go for a Taurus. This is because there are quite a few in circulation and, although expensive, they aren’t as cripplingly so as the other makes.

The only trouble is, Taurus has stopped making LBRs for the British market, so prices have spiralled upwards.

Another major issue is the finishing, the quality of which varies a lot, especially internally. The Model 66 and Model 980, on which our LBRs are based have a couple of besetting issues to do with their cylinders and, if these aren’t slicked out, owning a Taurus can become an exercise in frustration.

Then there’s spares. Taurus parts are not easy to come by in the UK. 

All that said, you can take one of these revolvers and turn it into something really pretty to look at and you can make them work.

This is mine:

It’s the 44 Magnum version. I sold this gun to someone who got it all sorted out and was intending to keep it. Then he changed his mind and sold it to a friend of mine and I eventually bought it back.

Just recently, I got handed another 44 Mag Taurus. This one had only seen light usage and for very good reasons. Nothing worked smoothly and the cylinder was barely rotating. Not good for a nearly-new gun.

I decided to give this revolver the makeover of its lifetime and sort out its rotational problems.

Here it is:

All stripped down and ready to be sorted out.

The sideplate was a pig to remove, because it hadn’t been finished well and was way too tight. A sideplate should be a snug fit, but shouldn’t require a sledgehammer and dynamite to remove.

These guns are always supplied in a brushed finish. That has charms of its own, but is poorly set-off by the uninspiring rubber grips that come with the gun. They’re narrow too, which means they transfer a lot of nasty recoil to the web of your hand.

The cylinder. Meh.

The ejector (the odd-looking angular thing sticking out) was so stiff it was barely operating. The centre pin (which pokes out the centre of the ejector and locks the cylinder into the frame) was stuck in its hole and couldn’t do its job. Dreadful!

Day one. I was still considering how far to go with this revolver when curiosity got the better of me and I polished the top of the vent to see how hard it would be to get it mirror-bright.

Damn. That’s torn it. Now I’ve got to do the rest of it!

OK… here goes.

Really getting stuck in now. No turning back.

By now, I had sorted out the grotty cylinder release problems and that ejector. All working smooth as butter.

This first bit went more quickly than I had anticipated. I refined my technique as I went along; learning  how far to go with polishing before calling it done.

Not totally done yet – still some scuffs and lines to get out, but we’re nearly there!

Internally, I had got to grips with the poorly-fitting sideplate. I’d made it snug, but without the nasty peening at its leading edge resulting from over-tight initial fitting at the factory. Unfortunately, the sideplate is on the opposite side to this photo.

And that’s Jenga.

Some crud and oil on the gun make the bit around my thumb look duller than it really is.

The revolver is now away having some finishing touches added by my good friend David at Shooting Shed. Click the link for David’s journal.

This was a labour of love, initially to see how long it would take (about 2 weeks on and off), but I now think there could be a new lease of life waiting for dozens more Tauruses out there.

Once I have it back and new grips on (those may take some while to get), I will post an update.

Now selling Dillon presses & accessories plus Mr Bulletfeeder

Good news for fans of progressive reloading: we’re now selling Dillon equipment and the Mr Bulletfeeder range.

If you’ve ever wondered about the convenience and ease of cranking out ammo to your chosen spec, then this brand definitely warrants checking out.

It’s a good idea, if you’ve not loaded much before, to come to progressive loading after a bit of time spent on single-stage or turret press work. That will provide you with the basics needed to move on to these more complex machines.

There is something pleasurable about setting one of these machines up. They actually look quite scarily complicated, but the step-by-step instructions make it dead easy if you follow them carefully.

There’s a variety of machines and setups to suit differing needs and budgets. These range from the Square Deal B machines, through the RL550s and excellent XL650s, all the way to the Super 1050s, which can chuck out over 1,000 rounds per hour!

Personally, I have been pleasantly surprised by the consistency and quality of ammo my machine produces. You wouldn’t think something so complex could turn out such accurate results, but they do and they’re worth the time and investment.

The Mr Bulletfeeder setup is an aftermarket line of gear intended to take the one remaining nuisance step out of progressive loading: adding the bullets by hand. These devices drop the bullets into place so all you need do is pull the handle.

There’s even a fully automated add-on for those who want to phone in their reloading and go make a cuppa.  The Mark 7 Autodrive (made for the XL650 and Super 1050 presses) is for serious ammo makers and clubs. These machines automate the whole process.

Whatever you end up buying, you won’t be disappointed. The Dillon range has been perfected over decades and is now the last word in quality progressive loading.

Get yourself a kit and start cranking them out!

To make an enquiry, please mail me on: jon@jdrguns.com

October bullet order arrives

Well, they’re here folks. Everyone’s bullets (and other bits of equipment) arrived safely yesterday. I’ll be sending it all out on Monday/Tuesday by ParcelForce.

A new list has been opened right away and we’re taking orders for that now. Why not mail: jon@jdruns.com and see what we can do to keep you shooting?

We can get most things reloading: bullets, brass, tools, dies, gunsmithing kit and cleaning supplies. Just send us a message for a quote.