Well, I thought I was going to get time this week to fire up the mill and lathe in the garage and work on the .50 rifle, but aside from some minor nitpicky stuff, I didn't get a whole lot done. The weather took another turn for the worse, and school has kept me pretty busy.
However, it turns out some of the other things I have spent my time on recently have worked out alright, as I got this in the mail the other day.
As you can guess, the real name, address, and ID have been removed and substituted. However, this is a good thing. At the moment, I am in line to receive an Associates of Science in Math from one junior college in my town and an Associates of Science in Physics from the junior college in the next town over, both at the conclusion of the Summer II semesters this year. From there I head to the University to finish a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and possibly a Bachelors degree in Math. There is a possibility I may pursue a Master's degree there as well, but it is too early to tell at the moment.
They have made me several good offers on student housing, but since I can't take my dog or my guns, I guess I'll have to pass. I'm sure my girlfriend and stepson would love to have the house (and garage) to themselves again, but I think I'll have to let them down on that. :)
I did manage to work on the striker of my .50 some more, and I found that when I cut off the trigger group housing to move it forward, I gouged the receiver a bit and when the housing was re-welded to the receiver, the receiver got a little burn through that has now prevented the bolt from reciprocating inside the receiver. Argh. The striker assembly itself is enough of a bear to get working, now I have to repair the receiver before I can try to get the striker working. Double Argh.
So, I chucked the receiver up in the Enco lathe and went about trying to knock down the high spots. I didn't have anything that would reach that far in, so I had to make due with a bastard file and some sandpaper stapled to an old broom handle. I got most of it, but it appears that I am not going to be able to get all of it. I have to machine a slot in the bottom of the bolt to clear the sear, so that should take care of the remaining clearance issues. I would rather get it perfect instead of falling back on a shortcut, but this won't hurt anything and I really need to get this thing done. My goal is to get the bolt slots machined this weekend when it warms up again, then machine a simple tapered bolt handle out of a chunk of that M2 drill rod I bought a while back. I don't have anything special planned for the bolt handle, just simple and clean (I hope). Anything will beat the grade 2 3/8" bolt I am currently using for fit up purposes. I still have yet to machine an extractor, and thinking about it hurts my head. I am a bit nervous about that one, as a single mistake means having to machine yet another bolt head. I would prefer not to do this part a third time. I suppose I need to get this done so the important parts can go out for heat treatment.
The bipod is yet another issue that I have yet to solve. Every time I think I have it figured out, I change my mind. I have a feeling that this is going to work out similar to the way the buttstock did, wherein I change my mind a hundred times and finally just settle on something simple. I suppose that I should keep it simple from here on out, as the Holmes design really doesn't lend itself well to any major complications. It was designed by Bill Holmes to be easily built and fairly durable, even if it is a little........unconventional looking.
I have decided on a simple matte black coating of Duracoat on the main parts, and likely will simply polish the bolt pieces to make them stand out a bit. I would love to try jeweling the bolt, but I think it would be a bit too entailed for what I'm really building here. I've done some jeweling work before and was very happy with the results, so I'm not worried about the outcome, more about it taking up too much of my time. I have two more projects to build this spring before the summer starts, and I need to get them all done by then, as I am taking 15 hours of classes this summer including Cal III and Differential Equations. The summer will be pretty busy and available time to work on project guns will go from the 10-20 hour weekly amount I have now to about 3-4 hours a week if I am very, very lucky. I will keep blogging, of course, but I imagine most of it will be discussions about other things firearm related and some political items that catch my fancy.
Speaking of which, I have heard a lot of noise lately about the usual anti-gun Democrats and "Republicans" wanting to ban high-capacity magazines. I don't personally consider 30+ rounds to be high capacity, but I am not an anti, either. I have access to a small sheet metal brake and have a variety of metal working tools, so I am considering making a video wherein I show how simple and fast it is to merely build your own mags. The mags can be cut from 4130 sheet obtained in small quantity from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, or you could draw the mag up in a CAD program and send it off to a CNC shop who I'm sure would be glad to cut you several hundred mag flats from sheet steel. This would be much less work, and if the design were right a functional mag could be welded, brazed, or soldered in mere minutes. I'm still tossing this idea around, as I am sure it would be informative to some, but would not put a dent in the so-called "logic" of the anti-gunners out there. All it means is that if a ban came down the pipe, I would send a few files to a local CNC shop with a laser cutter and have a few hundred mag flats burned out before the ban took effect. I imagine a sheet of 4130 about .06" thick would run under a hundred bucks, and I could then cut the flats out myself, or if I had them cut in quantity, a local CNC shop would probably charge me on the order of five to ten bucks apiece. Drum mags are a little more difficult, but I am sure I could work something out. Food for thought.
Anyway, I may post up something else this weekend if I get some machining done on the .50 parts. If not, then I have two days lined up next week wherein I have nothing scheduled and I am told the weather here is supposed to stay in the 50's all next week. Here's to hoping................