Internet Gun Craft
What you can find on the Internet is simply amazing. As one who totally lacks the skill of a gunmaker and escapes by aping the wisdom of my betters, I often root around in “The Cloud” when I have a shotgun situation I’m curious about.
Here’s an example: Much to the consternation of the gunmaker, I usually disassemble a shotgun when I am reviewing it. You’d be amazed at how often the workmanship on the inside of a shotgun has no relation to that on the outside. Of course, every now and then a maker makes me promise not to disassemble his high-five-figure work of art, and I respect that. But when left to my own devices, I just love peeking inside.
Pulling apart guns whose stocks are held on with drawbolts (most standard over/unders and a few side-by-sides) is a piece of cake. Sidelocks are pretty easy too, once you get the screwdrivers properly ground. At least you can get the locks off for a look-see without messing with the stock. But the boxlock side-by-side can be an issue, because it has sort of a hidden stock-retaining relief in the triggerplate that has to be dealt with.
Enter Jack Rowe, Trinidad College, Brownell’s and the Internet. I’ve known Jack Rowe for years. We often conversed when he was at the AyA booth at the various SHOT shows. He is considered a “master gunsmith,” but that’s really an understatement. When it comes to side-by-side shotguns, he is tremendously informative.
He taught gunsmithing at Trinidad College, and Brownell’s has made tapes of parts of his courses available over the Internet. Google “Brownells - Jack Rowe Master Gunsmith,” and you will bring up dozens of short how-to video clips wherein Jack shows how side-by-side guns are made and repaired.
I was interested in how to pull the stock off of a boxlock side-by-side and found exactly what I was looking for at http://www.rtbot.net/play.php?id=vSlmPGWRdgQ.
It is the first part of five on stripping and cleaning a boxlock side-by.
Rowe covers a wide variety of gunsmithing topics in these short videos, but you will have to look about a bit to find what you want. I wasn’t able to find them all gathered in one place, but perhaps you have more skill at tracking things down on the Internet. I really liked his bit on stock bending at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZBtS_WlcG4 (Part 1) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnRgaiU5GEs (Part 2). There are other ways of bending stocks, but this is the traditional one.
One thing’s for sure: If you are interested in what goes on inside a traditional side-by-side, learning from a free Internet video by a gunsmith of the quality and experience of Jack Rowe has to be a great first step.
The next steps are, as always, boots off, beer open.