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.

The Marlin Jam

This is about the well-known problem with Marlin lever-action rifles. If you were expecting something about blues riffs or home-made preserves, you’ll be disappointed.

The carrier is the plain steel gizmo bottom centre in this image.

The Marlin Jam starts right at the beginning of the gun’s life when, even after just a few rounds, the underside of the lever (the lever cam) digs into the bottom of the carrier and creates a line.

The dreaded line.

This line worsens with time and eventually screws up the timing of the gun, with two rounds jammed together behind the chamber.

I’ve dealt with this problem a couple of times now and thankfully on both occasions with a new or nearly new gun. The procedure with older Marlins with a well-established line on the carrier is a bit more involved; it can mean more drastic measures, including a new carrier. However, you can prevent it from developing in a new gun/recurring in an older one by smoothing off  part of the lever cam as follows.

Normally, the arrowed edge is quite a sharp angle. That’s how it comes out of the factory. Here, I’ve taken preventative action and put a small radius on the edge to stop further damage.

The line, it’s burred edges taken down with emery paper and the whole flat gently smoothed over with very fine emery.

The rounded edge of the lever will no longer dig into the carrier and the line in the carrier, although still present, won’t get any worse.

I’ve only used emery on the carrier. 600 grit and then 2000 grit to polish. It’s not a good idea to start attacking the carrier with anything more aggressive as removing too much metal can make a bad situation very bad indeed.

I topped off my repair with some DSX, rubbed in well, and all was good to go. Action as smooth as butter now.

DSX Assembler grease. Ideal for a job like this. I treated the whole action with DSX before reassembly. Well worth doing. 

I love Marlins, but this one thing rankles with me a bit. It probably affects their bottom line too much to warrant fixing this issue, but these are good rifles and shouldn’t be allowed to leave the factory with this decades-old gripe still present.

Anyway, that’s how it’s sorted. There are numerous YouTube videos showing this in a lot more detail, but the above is how I fixed it.

Time to move the T7

Just a trivial thing but it may be of help to someone.

The Redding T7 press was the first I ever had and it’s been fantastic. It’s as tight and precise as it was the day I got it. Admittedly, it hasn’t been used much of late, but I leave one of my rifle calibres permanently installed on it so I don’t have to faff about.

Redding T7 (far left corner), with top of RCBS Rock Chucker just in view, bottom right. You can see the repair to the bench where the T7 sat, until yesterday.

One thing I’ve seldom got exactly right first time is positioning of presses on my bench. Some reloaders have several presses in a row, but I’ve learned that you have to plan carefully and take account of several factors. These include: room to use spanners and Allen keys,  turret-swinging room (for turret presses), plain old elbow room and, in particular, what direction the operating lever falls and how far out you need to sit or stand when using it.

It was this last thing that I overlooked with the T7. You can see from the four filled holes in the bench pictured above, that the press was reasonably close to the Rock Chucker but with about 14″ to the corner. I had thought a lot about where to put these presses, but missed one vital thing. Proximity to a corner.

The T7’s lever is quite long and comes straight out towards you, describing a large arc. If you’re right-handed, this means you need plenty of room to the left, so that you/your chair are out of the way. However, you also need to be close enough to exert enough force.

I was preoccupied by the idea of keeping the corner wing of the bench uncluttered and various other practical considerations meant that the press couldn’t go along that edge. So I placed it next to the Rock Chucker.

All seemed fine until I came to actually try and use the T7. Then I realised that 14″ wasn’t enough.  I really needed to be sitting further left and couldn’t get close in enough to operate the T7 efficiently.

So it had to be moved. It looks and feels better where it is now. I can get around to its left-hand side, close to the press but out of the way of that lever.

 

Watching paint dry

…that’s the plan for this little Anschutz 520 I’ve been working on.

All stripped and ready to be coated. I haven’t completely settled on a colour scheme for the woodwork, but whatever it is I think it should be understated, so that the gun can go on being used for rabbiting if desired.

A work in progress and no great rush to complete it. I’m learning how to do this wooden stock as I go along. So, I’m allowing plenty of time for backtracking and redoing stuff if needed.

A rather drab selection of images, but that’s how it is when you’re rubbing down and preparing a surface. It’s time consuming and not very interesting for others to watch.

Here instead is a picture of the kind of place where I hope this lovely little semi-auto rimfire might again see action.

Look out, rabbits!

Anschutz 520/61 makeover

New project on the go is this Anschutz 520/61. Currently in pieces for a complete makeover. It came to me in good nick but in need of a tidy up.

If I don’t hold it for this image, it would drop to bits. That’s where we are right now.

Stripped receiver and fore-end.

Receiver all stripped down. Not sure what finish we’ll use yet. I want to use some creativity on this gun.

Receiver again.

Vomit! Orange varnish and nasty chequering that both need to go. Watch this space!