Building an Alexander Henry Target Rifle from a Rod England Kit

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting and Target Shooting' started by Curtis, Jul 15, 2019.

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  1. Jul 15, 2019 #1

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    I started on the kit a couple of days ago, just couldn't wait any longer!

    The first thing I tackled was fitting the patent breech to the barrel. In the fitting process I eventually filed enough metal off the breech face of the barrel to turn the patent breech approximately two flats past the initial tight fit. I recommend taking great care in this filing process to maintain the trueness of the barrel face. I painted the face of the patent breech with Dykem to indicate when the face had bottomed out, in order to insure a tight seal.

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    Once the patent breech was properly seated, I began the process of "prettying up" the castings, which of course translates to lots of filing. Fortunately the castings are very nice in quality, it makes the job much easier. First I used a jeweler's saw to add definition to the very top of the flash guard , probably not necessary however it helped me maintain it's integrity. I also sketched on some makings with a Sharpie to help remind me of the some lines I wanted to maintain.

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    After the filing was all finished (at this stage at least) I used a cold chisel to make a couple of witness marks. These will be useful for properly aligning the breech when it is removed and replaced in the future. The bottom face of the "snail" will have to be filed the next time I have the patent breech off the barrel.

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    Then I filed the underside of the tang to remove the casting marks and seams.

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  2. Jul 15, 2019 #2

    Curtis

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    Curtis

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    And this is where I stopped with the filing, it is adequate for finishing the inletting of the barrel and tang.

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    My next step will be to "square up" both ends of the octagon section of the machined inlet, and true up the end grain face where the standing breech will make contact.

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    That's all for now! Thanks for looking,

    Curtis
     
  3. Jul 15, 2019 #3

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    Here is the octagonal barrel inlet after the initial "squaring up" of the ends. I will do some smoothing up as I remove high points of contact by the barrel.

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    Once the tang started to make contact with the top of the stock, I scribed around the tang and removed wood where indicated. Anyone who had done much inletting will agree, SHARP tools are required for clean, crisp inlets.

    It soon became apparent that the untouched bottom of the patent breech would need some material removed before inletting. I filed it flush with the standing breech bottom. More material will likely be removed when the lock goes in. Here is it pictured covered with inletting black.

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    As the barrel unit goes down and back, I like to persuade it to the rear buy tapping it firmly on the muzzle with a non-marring tool, and tap the tang down after it is seated rearward. In the third pic there you can see there is still a small gap and it must back to insure a solid fit behind the standing breech.

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  4. Jul 15, 2019 #4

    Curtis

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    As it goes down I like to remove most of the excess wood proud of the tang, you can see better what is going on and it helps eliminate false readings.

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    Removing wood that is marked with inlet black:

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    The tang is down, and there is full contact behind the standing breech, this stage is complete!

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    I started prepping the drip bar, and sharpened the blade on my bow saw in preparation for cutting the excess off the butt of the stock. The blade was brand new but cut miserably. More to come later...

    Curtis
     
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  5. Jul 15, 2019 #5

    BuckDoeHunter

    BuckDoeHunter

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    :2cool: Looking forward to your future posts!
     
  6. Jul 15, 2019 #6

    ShawnT

    ShawnT

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    Excellent work!
     
  7. Jul 15, 2019 #7

    45-70

    45-70

    45-70

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    Very Nice
     
  8. Jul 16, 2019 #8

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    Thanks guys, hope to have more in a few days!

    Curtis
     
  9. Jul 17, 2019 #9

    52Bore

    52Bore

    52Bore

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    Looking good!
    Your right about a very good fit for the breech. Saw a guy who didn’t do the fit well and the cross bolt cracked the stock. Then I bought it, acraglas the breech and my son shoots it.

    I’m not a fan of the octagon looking breech - was the stock pre-inletted for the octagon shape?
     
  10. Jul 17, 2019 #10

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    The stock was inlet for the octagon breech, however the machine inletting leaves rounded areas in the ends of the inlet that need to be "squared up" a bit.

    Here is what the machine inlet looks like:
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    And here it is after I worked it over:

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    Curtis
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Jul 20, 2019 #11

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    Got back in the shop and inlet the buttplate today. First step was to cut off the excess wood with a bow saw I made in George Suiter's tool-making class at the NMLRA Seminar last year.

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    Then I did a little cleanup with a rasp and filed the inside edges of the buttplate to clean and even the up.

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    The finial comes to a sharp point, so I use a little tool I forged up to clean out the front of the inlet.

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  12. Jul 20, 2019 #12

    Curtis

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    Curtis

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    Near the bottom of the inlet I like to take a shallow gouge and pare away the inside of the flat area a little bit, it really speeds up the process. I mark around the plate with a pencil and stay about a quarter inch inside the lines.

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    When please with the fit I located the screw holes, marked them with a punch, then drilled undersized pilot holes in the buttplate.

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    I used a tip in the instruction sheet that came with the kit and put the bit used to drill the pilot hole in the hole in the buttplate, aligned it toe the proper angle and tapped it with a hammer. Then for good measure I rotated it half a turn and tapped it again. This is supposed to help keep the drill from wandering and moving the plate when you start the pilot hole in the wood. It worked rather well I must say! I will remember this technique, it works better than using a center punch.

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    Then I screwed the buttplate in place with some undersized non-period temp screws to keep it in place and protect the stock. The fit looks good, if some minor gap shows up when I bring the stock down to size I can make a some minor adjustments then.


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    Thanks for looking,
    Curtis
     
  13. Jul 20, 2019 #13

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    Next I started cleanup on the trigger plate casting. I must say again these are some of the nicest casting I have used, there was very little cleanup needed. The edges if the trigger plate were cast with a nice bevel.

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    The trigger riser will work fine the way it came but I decided to make it look a bit closer to traditional English trigger riser, so I marked it up, cut it with a jeweler's saw and did some filing to reshape it. It needs more work, will finish that up tomorrow:

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    The plate almost fits in the precarved mortise, the corners need a little squaring up and I ran a 3/8" reamer down the round hole for the tang screw stud.

    That's it for this installment.

    Curtis
     
  14. Jul 20, 2019 #14

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    Once the trigger plate will go down far enough to touch the wood I hold it firm and scribe around it where needed, then start removing wood with gouges and chisels. You can feel it when the tool drops into the scribe lines.

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    For the delicate areas around the pineapple finial I stab in with a small tool I made for inletting fine work:

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    A little more work and it's almost down all the way. I didn't deepen the machine inlet area except at the rear of the inlet and a bit at the mid section, also the mortise for the trigger riser.

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    Curtis
     
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  15. Jul 22, 2019 #15

    BuckDoeHunter

    BuckDoeHunter

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    Nice work! I like the look of that trigger plate.
     
  16. Jul 23, 2019 #16

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    I like the English style trigger plates also... this one is already begging to be engraved!

    Curtis
     
  17. Jul 28, 2019 #17

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    Once the trigger plate was in it was time to drill for the tang bolt. The tang bolt will go into the lug above where the trigger guard screws into the plate. I start with a 1/16" drill so I have room to fix thing is something goes haywire. I use a drilling guide instead of my drill press. I drilled about halfway from each side.
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    The initial pilot hole looked good, but when I went up a couple of sizes the guide evidently slipped on me. Something didn't look right so I stopped after drilling a eighth or so. I was heading for disaster, good thing I stopped. Since I was well within the screw shaft area it was and easy correction, I used a small mill bit in a drill and a diamond burr to move the hole over and back on track.

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    I used progressively larger drills until I reached the tap drill size removed the plate and drilled for clearance, then tapped the plate in the gun. It came out pretty much right on the money!

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    Curtis
     
  18. Jul 28, 2019 #18

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    The next step was to drill the tang only to 1/4", I used a drill stop to prevent going to deep. Then per the instructions I made a reamer from a file tang and enlarged the hole for the tapered bolt, primarily to the rear to enhance tightening of the breech. Last I installed the tang bolt. I had obtained some used screws from Rod so I utilized one of those.

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    Next I drilled and tapped a hole in the standing breech, then cut off an 8x32 bolt and sharpened one end to a point in the drill press with a file. I screwed it into the standing breech so the point barely protruded and installed the breech in the stock to mark where to drill for the standing breech screw. This insures an exact location of the screw.

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    Curtis
     
  19. Jul 28, 2019 #19

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    After completing that task, I prepped the drip bar and the barrel underlug for installation, then sawed off some of the excess from the bottom of the forestock.

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    Curtis
     
  20. Jul 31, 2019 #20

    Curtis

    Curtis

    Curtis

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    For a change in pace I did some cleanup work on the trigger guard and barrel key. I still can't get over how nice these castings are to work with - for the key I cut off the sprue and ran it across a file to remove the casting scale and it was ready to install. I trimmed the trigger guard sprues and did some cleanup filing.

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    While I was at it I deepened the guard hole in the trigger plate with a #3 drill, and tapped it 1/4-28.

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    Curtis
     

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