Sunday, December 30, 2012

Back in the saddle.

Been under the weather for a few weeks, fighting everything from a sinus infection to a stomach virus to my current head cold. I'm slowly regaining what health I have left.

We had a blog dinner at Campo Verde last week on the 23rd, it was a heck of a good time, and I must say that Bob mis-spoke when he tried to describe the use of lights and color in the place during the holidays. He said it was pretty bright and flashy, moreso than usual for that place.
What he didn't quite cover was the enormity of it. It wasn't just bright and colorful, it was insane. It was to eclectic colors and lights what Charles Manson is to crazy. It was as if someone had taken all the different colorful creatures from Sesame Street and the Muppets, tossed them in a blender, then tossed a power cord in the blender. Up until I went there, I had no idea there was any way to experience color other than by sight.
Word has it that they have to shut down every night by 2200 because of the interference to NASA satellites.

It was a good time, and I enjoyed seeing the folks who attended. There was a lot of talk about political happenings in the gun world, and I think DanielS had a number of cogent points to make as to how unlikely a lot of the rumors are. I hope he is right.

I've been poking along on some new and some old projects, but between being sick and unwinding from the school semester, I just haven't been much of one for blogging.

I've got a couple of posts coming down the pipe, maybe I'll get to them in the next week or so.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Building an AK47.........from a shovel?

Okay, I will admit to earning my moniker a million times over.
I've had plenty of friends give me the hairy eyeball for some of the things I have cobbled together in my lifetime.
Plenty of people looked at me like I was out of my mind when I said I wanted to build a rifle, specifically a .50
When I told Eric at Bacon Fat Labs I was going to make a firing pin out of the shaft from an old shock absorber, he offered to pay for some 4140 round stock out of his pocket.
KX59 still regales me with tales of his own head scratching over my ability to remove a broken, cross threaded screw from the bolt of my .50 in the field using nothing more than my Gerber multi-tool.
I've found uses for duct tape and coat hangers that would make a Khyber Pass native shake his head and walk away.
I've done paint jobs on different things that would make Earl Scheib cry.

In my time on this earth, I've done some pretty insane things, but never, ever, ever, have I looked at a shovel covered in manure and thought to build an AK receiver out of said manure shovel.

Somewhere, Mikhail Kalashnikov is now toasting this man's success with a bottle of vodka and is developing a flinch all at the same time.

I bow to his resourcefulness. I have been one-upped, and I can think of no way to top  that.
The Redneck Engineer is no longer the lowest common denominator when it comes to scrap yard gun building. I now hang my head in shame, and walk away salaaming to the builder's awesomeness.

This man will now live a life of dancing and song while having various women thrown at him, all the while living in Massachusetts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Building the 0% AR15 forging

In this nice little world we live in, there are two types of things that matter.
1. Guns
2. Everything else.

Well, to our friends at the BATFE, that's how it's all grouped, and there's a lot of stuff under the "Guns" portion that we here at this blog are interested in. Likewise, there's lots under the "Everything else" header that pertains to this blog. I know what you're thinking, what on earth is this redneck babbling about, and why should I care?
Keep reading. We're getting there.

Repeat visitors to this blog may have read a time or two that I've mentioned something being "80%" done, or an 80% kit, etc. This generally means is in reference to the BATFE's ruling that a gun ain't a gun if it ain't up to the 80% completed mark. The 80% that matters isn't just the whole receiver, but the parts that make it accept a bolt, a magazine, and a trigger group. You can drill holes in a block of aluminum until it turns to dust, but it ain't a gun until it accepts all of the above.
Now, go back to what I said up top......
It either is a gun, or it ain't.

This is a gun.

This is not a gun.

If THAT ain't a gun, then this damn sure ain't a gun, either.

Now, what does all of this have to do with this blog post?

Simple. A while back at the beginning of the year, I bought a bunch of the 0% AR15 forgings as shown in the last picture there. There is not a single bit of machine work done to these prior to you buying one, it's the same forging that almost every AR manufacturer in the US uses. Yeah, I know, so many of them claim they build their own proprietary design on their in-house CNC machines.
They don't.
They buy these forgings, pop 'em in their CNC machine, and carve out all the important parts.
Now, some places DO build their own from the ground up, but they are usually cut from a billet of auminum, aka a big chunk of raw 7075 aluminum. There's no real advantage to one over the other, in my opinion, having fired both in several calibers.
The aluminum could not be reached for comment, either.

So, we've established that we have some castings, and that they are not guns. What do we do next?
Well, as I've been doing with raw materials since I started this blog, we turn raw materials into guns!

Full instructions on how to machine one of these castings into a firearm can be found over at Ray-Vin's site here.
I machined a couple using those plans, and while it worked great, it took a long time because of all the set up work in order to machine everything perfectly.
Enter into the picture a company called CNCGUNS, who makes a jig for holding 80% AR lowers while you finish machining them. This jig appealed to me, and even though many people advise against using it on the 0% forgings, I had to try one out.
I borrowed my jig from another homebuilder a bit back, and found out why no one uses 'em to machine the 0% forgings. You have to have the top surface of the forging completely milled to spec before you can align the jig to the receiver. Okay, no big deal, it's gotta be done anyway, right?
So, here is a forging with the "deck" machined.
 Notice that there is no other machining done other than the top and buffer are being milled free of forging flash, and the front pivot pin is drilled.
(Yes, I wear latex gloves when doing machine work. I hate getting metal slivers in my hands, and the nature of my job demands that my hands stay as oil and grease free as possible.)

Now, we can align our forging into a CNCGUNS jig.

Using a flat surface, align the top of the forging with the top of the jig, and the rear of the buffer tube area with the back of the jig.
Normally, the CNCGuns jig is only used to hold the jig in place while the FCG pocket is milled out, and the corresponding holes are drilled in the side. This is a side benefit of the jig, as I will indeed use it to do that. Having the holes for the trigger, hammer, safety, takedown pins, etc. already lined up is very, very nice and saves a LOT of setup time (as in hours of time, not minutes).
What else do I do with this jig?
Well, I can now within a matter of seconds have my forging completely aligned square to the milling table, so drilling and boring the buffer tube hole no longer takes half an hour to set up and align. I can also mill the bottom side of the forging, where the trigger guard goes, and the pistol grip area. These areas used to require a specialized jig I machined, and the forging had to be precisely clamped to a series of fixtures so each area could be properly machined.
After all, the only thing about the AR forgings that does not get milled is the side profile. Everything else gets milled to size.

One thing that was taking a very long time to setup and perform the machine work on was the magazine well and the FCG pocket. There are several holes that must be very accurately drilled to remove a good bit of material before any milling takes place, and it requires the forging to be accurately setup. Once setup, the holes must be drilled out carefully, as you are drilling them with a long 1/8" drill bit. Any excess pressure on the bit causes it to flex, ruining the hole and making the bit wander off center.
I figured out that I could make my own jig that bolts to the CNCGuns jig, and has all of the important holes already laid out, and it holds the drill bit perfectly straight while I drill. 
Using a piece of 6061 1x3 aluminum billet, I laid out where each hole needed to be, then drilled it on my milling machine.
The jig after being bolted on top of the CNCGuns jig......

The forging after the drilling jig was removed......

The forging after the holes were all drilled to their final size prior to milling....

The magazine well is now milled out, as is the FCG pocket. All that remains is the milling for the small pocket that houses the take-down pin, and as you can see, those holes are already drilled.

Once I have those pockets machined and sanded smooth, I move on to drilling the buffer tube hole and tapping it with a tap I made a while back, then I drill all the necessary holes in the receiver and finish milling everything on the outside of the receiver.
All that remains is to file and sand on the magazine well until a magazine fits, then mill the bolt hold open slot (I forgot to do that when milling the mag well) and drill the hole for the buffer detent pin.

Not bad for a 20 dollar paperweight, eh?

That's my latest project, and while this particular receiver is actually for a .45 acp carbine I'm building, I have a couple more posts coming up on this same subject.
And for those of you following along about certain drum related items, yes, I know you want me to finish the drums. For what it's worth, the drum is on a welding jig with a newly made magazine, ready for assembly and testing. That's my next build post.....

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the AR forging post.
More as I get to it........

Saturday, October 27, 2012

RPD stuff must be really popular....

Because I got more hits this week since I posted the video of my somewhat-finished RPD than I have ever gotten in any week.
Thanks to SayUncle and TheFirearmBlog for redirecting folks here. If this is your first visit, take a look around at some of the other gun projects I have, or just leave a comment.

Guess I need to get moving on that HiPoint drum and my Bren MK1 soon.....

Monday, October 22, 2012

More on my RPD project, first time to cycle a belt of ammo

I've been remiss in posting about my firearm projects due to working on everyone else's stuff, but I've made some time to work on one of my own toys lately that I tried (in vain) to get ready for the DABII. That would be the RPD, for those of you who read regularly.
I actually had the RPD at DABII, but I just couldn't get the blasted thing to run. There were a few reasons for this, but none of them took much work to correct.

To start off with, I really didn't care one way or the other if this rifle even remotely resembled an RPD by the time I was done, moreover I just wanted something belt fed to play with that fired a cheap cartridge. Since most of the RPD builds I've seen have been somewhat unreliable, and every one of them has used a striker fired design that may or may not work, I figured I would change things up and use a hammer fired design. The striker system for these rifles has just proven to be too finicky, and when you've got a firearm that only runs ammunition that has a 100% chance of having very hard primers (like Wolf ammo), you need a fire control group that can smack the primer hard, every time. Otherwise you wind up with a very heavy club.
I had a lower receiver and FCG from a H&K G3 rifle sitting here, and that seemed like a good donor piece after mocking it up on the RPD receiver.

That looks like it was meant to be there, if you ask me.

I needed to mill out the bottom of the bolt carrier a little more than I already had in order to clear the hammer.

Now, the original recoil spring system consisted of a rat tail spring and push rod that fit inside the butt stock and extended into the receiver of the firearm, pushing the bolt carrier forward under spring tension. This was great, except it would not work with a hammer fired system, since the push rod would be directly in the way of the hammer. As such, I originally tried to work around that by stretching the receiver an inch, and building a push rod extension that was milled out in the center so a hammer could travel through it, but this wound up not working very well. After thinking about it a little while, I figured I would just go with dual recoil rods, one on either side of the hammer.
This would entail machining a small piece of steel to retain the recoil rods, and allow the recoil spring to push against them. This was made from an unknown piece of steel I had laying around.

The end result....

Now, I needed a recoil rod retainer, similar to the buffer tube on an AR15, but longer and smaller in diameter. I found a piece of tubing in the scrap metal pile that the aforementioned recoil rod pusher fit in and reciprocated without binding, then threaded the end of it for a 3/4" plug. This tube was then welded inside the lower receiver section/buttstock section from the RPD at the same angle as the original.
I then welded in some pieces of sheetmetal to connect all the corners and make the end of the rifle come together a bit better
Let's take a look at it and see how it looks assembled....

 I also removed the barrel and cut it down to 14.5", then welded a flash hider/muzzle extension on.
In the above picture, you can see a aluminum handguard that I machined for it. I probably won't cover how I machined it, as I don't think I'll be keeping it. It's too boxy and just doesn't look right on the gun.

After some thought, I figured that while it was a pretty unique looking rifle, I still wanted something else different to it that had not been tried before. I have a soft spot for NFA toys, especially machine guns, and since I couldn't build this into an actual machine gun, I wanted to do the next best thing and build a bump fire stock for it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, google "slide fire stock". You'll see that with one of those stocks on your AK or AR, you can easily emulate full auto fire. Well, what would be cooler than to do a "full auto" 100 round belt dump?
So, I removed the HK pistol grip, and cut it's mount off the HK lower. I then milled a piece of aluminum that bolts to the AR stock, and has a provision to allow a AR15 pistol grip and a aluminum stand off piece of metal that keeps your trigger finger off the trigger until the rifle is pulled forward by your forward hand.

I haven't got any good pictures of the bump fire stock parts, but here's what I do have.

There's a piece of sheetmetal that encases the aluminum and keeps it reciprocating in a straight line, back and forth. It's not the prettiest thing I've ever built, but it works, and after I do some clean up, it should look a bit better.
On the other hand, I'm strongly considering redoing the entire rear half of the rifle anyway. We'll see.

Now, how does it look in action?

The first round got caught between the bolt carrier and the receiver instead of ejecting, but other than that, it ran great. Prior to this video, I had loaded about 25 rounds into a belt, and shot it off using the bump fire stock. It made for a REALLY good burst, but my cameraman didn't have the camera working, unknown to me. =( It makes for a fun range toy, like many of my other home built guns. It didn't run well at DABII, because there were issues with the feed tray that I could not easily detect, but after getting it home and seeing friction marks from steel case ammo rubbing on the tray and continually jamming the works up, I was able to mill out the offending sections and get a reliably feeding rifle out of it. Next up is to build a better looking handguard and maybe redo the buttstock area. If nothing else, I'll load up a couple belts, take it to the range on occasion, and let 'er rip! a

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Attn: Cormac, Nick The Blogless, and others in the Dallas area......

I am wanting to head to the NRA CON in Houston this spring. We spoke before about carpooling.
Any remaining interest in that?

Politics made simple and hilarious.

If you don't look at another internet ever again after today, make sure these are on the list to watch first.

Likely the most awesome thing I have EVER seen!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Random update

Life has come at me pretty hard lately. Nothing is wrong, per se, other than me being too busy to blog, read, comment, or really do much of anything other than school-work and work-work. I haven't gotten very far with any new builds, any time I've had in the garage lately has all been building Suomi parts.

At this time there are no more Suomi kits being taken in. I have decided it is not in my best interest to offer my services except to a select few.
I started doing this to give some people an opportunity to build a parts kit on their own, without having to figure out how they could do all the difficult machining and parts sourcing. After doing the machine work on a couple dozen parts kits, it's time to let it go. I simply haven't the time or patience to deal with it any longer. At the end of the day, I've met some great people that I not only got to do some machine work for, I also made a good friend out of them. Those people will always have my hands and tools available when called upon. There were also those who appreciated my work, paid me a fair amount for it, and then our transaction was complete. They went on to build a completed firearm, and likely were (or will be) met with great success and happiness at the conclusion of their hard work in finishing one of my kits. Then there are the remaining others, who are never satisfied.
To those of you who simply tried to steal my hard work from me, or just didn't feel like your day was complete until you whined at me for taking too long or charging "too much", I will not miss losing the opportunity to help you in the future.

Anyway, with that said, I have an idea for some other projects I hope to take on in the future. A belt-fed rifle, built on AK parts, a miniaturized 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, and a couple of other parts kits sitting in boxes.
I also have some more work to do on a certain Hi Point drum assembly. Yeah, yeah, I know. Talk's cheap, hurry up and finish that one! I know many of you are itching to see that one completed. I'm actually ready to work on it again.

I have an uberpost of sorts stirring around in the back of my mind that the Borepatch has stirred up. I might have it up soon.

More as I get to it........

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Space Balls DABII the Flamethrower Movie!

Okay, here's the video.
Life has been insanely busy and stacking up fast on me, so much that I finally had to miss out on a few things to compile this.
The original is about 14 minutes long, and I was finally able to cull the whole thing down to around 10 minutes. The original had a lot of footage cut or trimmed, so you can bet that the second version had A LOT removed as well. I have a copy of the original unlisted on Youtube. If you want a link, shoot me a message and I'll give you a link, but it's really not any better than the shorter one.

I wasn't sure how popular the music would be with people besides myself, but if you don't like it, turn the volume down and cross yourself.

Without further ado....

I've enabled comment captchas because I'm tired of spammers commenting on every post about how interesting my blog is and redirecting me to their "blog" about everything from pool cleaners to viagra. If they continue to spam me, I will have to turn full moderation on.

Ignore the music credits. I left Texas Hippie Coalition out of the final cut due to not having as much footage.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dallas Area Blogshoot, a Redneck wrap-up.

Life hasn't stopped moving since I got home Sunday, so I have been really, really busy. Too busy, in fact, to share my thoughts on the Dallas Area Blogshoot and Dinner.
The first DAB was a smashing success, and with so many bloggers in the area, it only made sense to have another blogger roundup and range trip. Since Borepatch designated Bob S. as the official "community organizer" for the Dallas area blogging functions, Bob S. started to get the ball rolling a few months ago on a second event.

After going back and forth with Bob about different range options, Bob asked for a consensus on his blog of what others preferred, range wise and dinner wise. After consulting several people interested, it was evident we would make use of Campo Verde in Arlington for dinner the evening before the shoot, and the next day the lot of us would meet up near my range to head out there en mass.
I was very impressed with the way everything worked out, the whole thing went very smoothly and everyone seemed to have a great time.

To start, I spoke with Scribbler early on, as he told me he needed a ride from his apartment to the dinner and the shoot. Since I'm such a nice guy I offered to pick Scribbler up on Saturday on the way to the dinner meeting.( No word as to whether he bribed me and Mrs. Redneck with buying dinner.)
We arrived an hour early, and sat around taking in the view of the establishment that is Campo Verde while waiting on others to arrive. For those who have not been there, let me tell you, that place is lit the hell up. The outside of the building is pretty kitschy and a bit eclectic as well. Don't believe me?
Looky here....

The inside is even more colorful.

Speaking of the inside, here's what it looks like when it's full of gunbloggers.

It's tough to see, but here's a pic of Scribbler, Artae, a couple of Artae's kids, Kx59, Southern Belle, and "Bootsie".

Nick the Blogless, and The Big Guy.

Here's another view of a few of the bloggers.

My wife was trying to take pictures of some of the lighting inside the restaurant, but the iPhone just doesn't do some things very well. Suffice to say that the inside of the place looks like what I imagine Christmas in hell would look like. LED and various Christmas tree lights abound. I imagine when they turn the lights on when the employees arrive in the morning, the streetlights along Pioneer Parkway dim. Bob S. informs me that around Christmas time, they pull out all the stops and cover every last square inch of the interior with lights. How it could get any more lit up than it currently is, I don't know. It's everyday appearance is such that you can literally hear the color when you walk in the door.

This is what happens when you leave an introverted redneck in a room awash with color and feed him really good steak and pack in lots and lots of people.
Did you hear that shade of blue? They're coming for me.

After a couple hours of great conversation and pretty decent food (the quail was sad, but the steak was good), we all went our separate ways for some rest in preparation for the next day. This resulted in Cormac, Nick, Scribbler, myself, and Mrs. Redneckengineer sitting in the parking lot doing some bench racing while I had a nice after dinner cigar.
We also got to "admire" the lights outside the restaurant.

(Man, do I love a good cigar. Too bad I forgot to bring any the next day.)

About 11 or so we headed back to base Redneck, Scribbler in tow to save us a trip that night and another trip the following morning on the way to the range.

Sunday morning saw the Missus, myself, and Scribbler all gathering ammo cans, rifles and pistols, and a couple new firearm projects as well as a couple old ones. After loading up the truck, we headed to the Wal Marts to pick up some bottled water and some important range accessories.
Range accessories, you say?

Yup. Range accessories. Not this kind, though.

We were a bit late to the arranged meeting spot, but we made it just in time for the local police to make a fourth loop through the parking lot. The Redneck couple and the Scribbler hopped out of the truck, and introductions were made all around to newcomers, bloggers, commentors. readers, and a couple other fellow firearm home builders. I was a bit taken aback at the number of us present, and there were still more to come at the range later.

Here is a quick pic of many of us, plus or minus a few who were afraid the camera would steal their soul.

Can we start shooting something besides a camera?

Shortly after the pic was taken, we left in a caravan of several vehicles to hit the range for some Texas-style shooting.

After we got to the range, I let everyone in and we set about going over the range rules and some basic range safety, which really isn't saying much. My range is the only one in the metroplex that allow machineguns and other fun items, as was evidenced by the pile of weapons present. Not everyone brought firearms, but those that did managed to shoehorn several armories into the range.

There were a ton of weapons at DAB I, but I think we managed to top that this time. Total tally of attendees was over 30. I literally lost count. I know I brought a couple dozen firearms on my own, and I'd say 2/3 of the attendees brought at least half a dozen or more firearms.

The best part of the day was when Daniels brought out his Barret M82A1. I think it was the most popular item to shoot the whole day. Not only was it a .50 BMG, but it was a semi auto (not to mention it always went bang every time you pull the trigger, and you didn't need a plastic hammer to open the bolt after firing.) There were a few suppressed weapons, a bunch of Mosin Nagants, a whole lotta ARs, Remington 700s, 03 Springfields, Garands, M14s, revolvers, plastic pistols, 1911s, a whole mess of .22 rifles and pistols, and a few project rifles. Among the project rifles were Genetic_Tool's .510 Reedwhacker, (which is a Winchester Short Magnum case cut down with a .50 caliber bullet, all designed to fire from a standard AR 15 with a modified bolt), a few AKs (including Henry's awesome homebuilt heavy barrel AK), my own RPD (which did not survive the day thanks to the recoil rods effing up), and a couple of Suomi carbines I helped some locals craft. The Suomi carbine is a real hit with everyone who shot it, save for "Bootsie", who had trouble hefting it. It is, after all, the heaviest 9mm carbine I've ever seen.

I also was gifted with a new moniker by Pat, as "The Redneck Gun Wrassler", after trying in vain to get a full belt of ammo to cycle through the RPD.
The video explains it a little better, but I'll leave that for another time.

I brought out some 1/4 and 3/8" steel plates to put out on the rifle range, and Eric was kind enough to construct some target stands to hang plates from. Once the stands were constructed, it was discovered that we had no rope or cord to hang the targets with. In my typical redneck fashion, I looked to the bed of my truck for a solution. As it turns out, I had some 4130 welding rod left in there, rusting away quietly. This made the job of hanging the steel plates a breeze.
Once the plates were up, we barely got back to the rifle firing range before everyone took advantage of the new targets. There wasn't much left of them by the time the afternoon arrived, but that was what I brought them for.

I finally got to put a couple of mags through Southern Belle's Tokarev rifle, did a few mag dumps with my sks and Mini 14, which my lovely wife purchased for me prior to our wedding, as a wedding gift to me. I also set up the range accessories mentioned earlier, as evidenced here.
 Yes, I duct taped party streamers to the muzzle brake of my .50 BMG rifle. Why the hell not? It worked exactly as I intended it to, it got a good laugh out of everyone, myself included. I also kinda forgot to tighten the bolts holding my scope to my rifle before the video was taken. Oops. There was also the point where Daniels and I shot our .50's simultaneously, while sitting next to each other.
This, in combination with several other rifles, managed to give me a bit of a headache, so I wandered over to the pistol bays to see how things were going. There were several people still shooting over there, including Artae, who wanted to teach his kids how to shoot. I gave him a handful of .22 and my sons Cricket rifle, and he let his youngest two try it out.

 Just because I promised to include it, here's a picture of the man, the myth, the legend, our community organizer, Bob.

Among those who attended, Bob brought his daughter-in-law along, who up until a couple of weeks prior, had never shot a firearm before.
She took to the hobby like a redneck to baling wire and chewing tobacco. The entire day she had a ear-to-ear smile. I think she shot one of pretty much every gun present.

Also present was
Pat St. Jean and his lovely new bride, Heather of Bikerscum fame
Eric, Scott Jr. and Scott Sr., friends of mine from Baconfatlabs
Big David and middle David, friends of mine from
The Big Guy from Listen to Uncle Jay
Daniels from Among the Leaves
Kx59, Belle, and bootsie from BellsaRinging
Cormac, from the internet
NicktheBlogless, also from the internet
Scribbler, from ScribblerScrawls
Duane and Tim, fellow gun enthusiasts and friends of mine
Henry, a blog reader and fellow home builder
Paul and his guest, Michael, blog readers from internet land
Artae and family, from Artae.blogspot
and others that I know I'm forgetting.

Around 1400, people started to head out and make their way home.  The weather forecasters had predicted rain for the morning, but none for the afternoon. Man, were they wrong. It rained or sprinkled almost the entire time we were there. Thankfully, this did nothing to dampen the spirits of all who attended. No one seemed to care that it was raining, they just stayed under the awnings and kept reloading. Jay definitely wins the long distance award, and Nick wins the bad luck award. Not only did his FAL have an OOB discharge, but his Saiga 12 went down as well. Upon leaving, poor Nick managed to sideswipe the tire baler, tearing a huge gash in the side of his pickup and leaving an enormous dent. A ball peen hammer temporarily repaired the damage so that he could close his door and make his way home. There are a LOT more photos from the day, but I'll save them for the video collage I am working on.

That's all for now.
To everyone that attended, thanks again for such a great weekend. I hope I'll see all of you at DAB III.