Friday, January 25, 2013

Gun building....more than just a hobby.

There are a lot of folks out there who have followed my blog for some time, and some who have stumbled across it while searching for a variety of things, from Suomis to .50 bmg rifles to the Hi Point drum magazine conversion, and a few other things. Some people (read: most) never heard of me until they met me at a blog shoot or saw links to some of my builds at bigger gun sites like SayUncle, the Firearm Blog, Borepatch, The Warrior Class, and several others I know I'm forgetting.
My main thing here on this blog has never been politics or things of that nature, I'm a firearms enthusiast and I like guns, so I guess most people can figure out from there roughly where my politics lay. My point of blogging and throwing information out there has always been that if I can do it, anyone can. Beyond that, it was a build log of mistakes, failures, and successes for others to peruse should they ever decide to try their hand at making their own firearms. This post is, in part, a response to my long, rambling, nonsensical post about gun control. This is here, like this whole blog, to serve as a reminder that the weapon is not the tool in the hand, but the human mind and the creativity within it.

Lately, I've had very little time to dedicate to blogging; it's never been a day-to-day thing for me. My time is spread thin between work, family, school, and building guns. I've been building a LOT of AR lowers from 0% forgings recently, for obvious reasons, as well as AK receivers and a few other things. I've got a whole list of other projects I intend to start, some I wish to finish and sit on the leading edge of being done with (*cough* drums *cough*), but right now I'm having to redirect my time to certain things that are on the line, such as ARs and AKs. With that said, every chance I get to help someone into the home building hobby, I will take the opportunity and run with it, no matter what. Especially if that someone is a good friend, and a reader/commenter who just happens to be local to me. How does this tie in to what I've been doing?
Read on.

I am a member of what is likely the best firearms builders forum out there, the Weapons Guild. It's a private forum, but it's not. By that I mean that in order to see what is going on there, you have to sign up as a member, but you do not have to post anything unless you want to be part of the Band of Brothers. It is a community predicated on the idea that knowledge not shared is knowledge lost, and that we are all brothers in arms when it comes to fabricating firearms and related weaponry. I have met some of the nicest people there, and seen some really neat stuff built with everything from CNC machinery to files and dremel tools.If home made firearms and tooling are your thing, or if it even remotely catches your fancy, go over there, join up, and join in. Ideas flow freely amongst members, as do tools, parts, and help.
Recently, I hosted a build party at my house/garage, wherein several members descended on my little shop to collectively work on their own firearm projects. I am fortunate enough to have a good collection of tools, and have been blessed many times over to not only have these tools but to improve in my ability to use them. About 18 people showed up in total to have fun that weekend doing lots of bench racing and lots and lots of building. Suomis, AKs, ARs, Uzis, and others got built, barrels were turned to profile and made ready for chambering, and extra AK receivers were bent for future projects. I ran completely out of 4130 tubing for making Suomi receivers due to all the guys wanting to build theirs!

A couple of weeks prior, I was sitting in the parking lot of Campo verde with my good friend/reader/commenter Cormac, and he was outlining his confusion over how I am able to make gun building look so simple. I inquired of his interest in the subject, and he responded that he would love to learn how to build.....well........anything.
What is the easiest gun to build? Probably an AR15, right? Shoot, they literally snap together, after all.
But, what if we threw a wrench in the works and said that you could not start out with a prefabricated receiver, and instead had to machine your own receiver? I think that right there would scare off most folks. Cormac, on the other hand, is not most folks. The more he and I talked about it, the more interested he became in building something, specifically his own AR15. It would sure be something to try, and odds are he'd enjoy it, or at least that was the feeling I got after talking to him about it at length. He started getting pretty excited about coming down sometime and working on a receiver, then I remembered that I had a Guild build party not but a couple weeks later. An invitation was extended and accepted, then I hit the road home.

A couple weeks later on Friday afternoon, I got a text from Cormac asking if the event was still a go. Truthfully, I had all but forgotten his intent to come to the build party, and I figured that barring anything else, he would lose interest in the idea. It is, after all, a long drive to my house from his neck of the woods.

Not so, Cormac even came in early just so he could get a head start on set up and some basic instruction on the mill, not to mention he got to sit around and BS for a few hours about all kinds of gun building related stuff. For instance,
1. There is no limit to the number of guns you may build yourself
2. No serial numbers are required on a firearm you make on your own.
3.The difference between open bolt firearms, and closed bolt; and how it is literally NOTHING to building a submachine gun that fires fully automatically, but a semi auto requires much more work and forethought.
4. The silliness of federal laws like 922r, and others.

I crashed early on, knowing it was going to be a long busy day in a short while.
The next day, it was full swing building, and Cormac had absolutely no problems in following directions needed to drill and mill the magazine well and FCG pocket on his lower.

Some of our motley crew absorbing pizza by the box. Thank God for Little Caesars.


Cormac, (the blond one), seen here dodging sparks while my friend David cuts rivets off an AK trunnion.

Back to making his first gun.....

By the time the weekend was over, Cormac made huge strides in building his AR, and he got to run a milling machine for several hours. He probably would have been much closer to finished had I not been pulled away to several other guys' projects constantly, but he dealt with it in stride. Now, I just gotta get him back down here to finish it. That may be tough, but he has said he intends to have it built by DABIII
Cormac, you've been called out and challenged; you must have that lower making bang noises by Memorial Day weekend.


Here you have a guy who had never, ever even touched a machine tool in his life and was able to quickly overcome his shortfalls and insecurities and work on building a gun out of a block of aluminum. When asked if he would be interested in joining the Guild, or attending another build party, the answer was a resounding YES. That, my readers, is a successful day. I've gotten someone else hooked on my hobby, it's almost like the first time you take someone shooting and they get hooked on it.


Gun building for me isn't just about the guns, or the building, but about the community. It is close to the same, if not the same community as the gun blogging one, and it lends credence to the idea that gunnys are good people and worthy of the public's trust. In both communities, I've seen nothing but help and hope for the future.


I've been meaning to post this up for a couple weeks now, I promised Cormac I'd put his mug up on the internet for everyone to see. I had to come up with some random words to throw in the middle, and sometimes that is the hardest thing.

6 comments:

  1. Dang, does this sound exciting -- I wish I didn't live 2000 miles away! I have a few AK kits I'm working on, but nothing as down-low basic as milling a 0% receiver.

    BTW, while I don't have the tools or talent to contribute greatly to the Guild, but I joined just to read about the outrageously wonderful projects. And they are: a 2.5x scale AK that shoots .50BMG is, indeed outrageously wonderful.

    fk

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  2. Challenge Accepted

    I had a great time out there, I learned a lot, met some great people.
    And I really appreciate all the hospitality that you and Mrs. Redneck showed me.

    I'm looking forward to visiting again.

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  3. Great write up James. Belle waves hi to you and Cormac.

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  4. God bless you, sir!
    My Dad was a Tool and Die Maker, and I'm sure he could have taken a 0% receiver and made it work.
    He taught me a lot, and I could probably do it, too, given the equipment and drawings.
    But, lacking a mill, I'd be doomed to 6 months of Dremel use, followed by another 6 of filing and fitting.
    Thanks for showing other people how it's done.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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