Last month, I promised an update on some things I have changed or improved on.
These are all little things, minor or even nitpick things, but they make a difference. If you don’t consider them worthwhile, that is fine. However, they might make you think differently about your equipment and possibly improve on your own kit. So, with no planned order, lets look at some things I have done that I think help my shooting, or at least my shooting experience.
Front sight. Why do they always show front sights mounted with the insert coming out the breach end of the sight housing? I admit, I always mounted my sights like that until I dropped an insert into the grass. I have turned my front sight around with the lock ring (I have no idea what that part is called) facing the target. When I need to change the insert, I simply stand the rifle with the butt on the ground and gravity becomes my friend, not my enemy. No more dropped inserts.
Rear Sight. Fitting a rear sight to a military match rifle can either be very easy or very hard. If you do not want to inlay the sight mount into the wood of the wrist, which is easy, you need a rear mount made. With no commercial mount available, it must be made. If you don’t have tools beyond a file and a hacksaw, it can be hard to get a proper mount constructed. I have made three so far and I can see where I already want to make another.
My current mount is held in place by the tang screw. There is a second screw threaded through the mount just behind the tang screw. That threaded hole accepts a smaller screw with a centering point on it’s end. I added a small, very small, 60 degree dimple in the tang that screw centers into when tightened. The screw doesn’t have to be strong, it simply has to keep the mount from swiveling. The tang screw handles the job of keeping the mount tight to the rifle.
Sling. I am on my third sling now and very happy with it. I started with a standard 19th century military sling on my Kerr and found it a challenge to shoot with. The majority of the problem was hand slippage on the fore stock. I then began using half of a 1907 military sling and that worked well enough. I just tied the front half the sling around the rifle forward of the lower band and ran the adjustment frog through the swivel on the trigger guard.
It worked well. My only issue was that getting into and out of the sling was a challenge as the leather was very supple. With no body to the sling it just flopped around while putting my arm through the loop. I imagine having that sling used on a M1 for the past 5 years was no help, as the rifle was loaned quite often and had numerous shooters of all sizes adjusting and using it. I wanted something more substantial that would hold it’s shape better, allowing me to get my arm through the sling with little trouble.
Looking though my unused shooting goodies, I had a heavy belt that was made to go with a hunting bag and horn but was never used. I cut the belt about 8″ from the buckle and attached the buckle end to the sling swivel with a leather lace. I took the feed end of the belt and cut a slit exactly as long as the belt was wide. Looping the belt through that cut, I slipped it over the forearm and pulled it tight. I added a twist and fed the belt into the buckle and I was done. I now had a heavy sling that stayed open on it’s own and was very easy to get into and out of.
Flash guard. I know, I do not need this. What I do need is more time in my life and less cleanup after shooting. A flash guard provides that. I had tried bending up a flash guard out of sheet brass and it worked. It was flimsy, as it had to be so it could be bent to shape, and was often bent out of shape while shooting. I next tried a commercial cone shaped flash guard and while it was sturdier, it also made capping difficult.
Sitting at the workbench one night, I began looking through my Gold Mine, the pile of odds and ends I cannot bear to throw in the trash. I found a cough drop tin with a nicely formed corner. The corner happened to be the same radius as my nipple bolster. Five minutes with a pair of tin snips, a quick trip to the drill press, and a nice flash guard was made.
So far, it has worked out very well. Replacements will not be hard to find if the need arises.
Hex Jag. I fired the Whitworth for a few months without a hex jag and had no issues keeping the bore clean. I began to wonder if a hex jag was even needed. I was cleaning the rifle one evening, after a day of shooting, and realized more patches were required with the Whitworth, than the Kerr, to get a clean bore. Another trip to the Gold Mine and I found an old 50 caliber cleaning jag. Putting the jag into a bench vise I began filing flats onto the jag, file and fit, file and fit. Once I had the basic shape I wanted, I began to try patches to check the fit in the bore. After just a few minutes I had a jag that was a tight fit with a dry patch and a easy fit with a wet patch.
Cleaning the bore became far easier and much faster. I am still not sold on using the hex jag to wipe between shots, but for cleaning the rifle after shooting, it makes a worthwhile addition to any Whitworth owner’s equipment.
So, there you have it. My boring post for the month of May. It may not be awe inspiring and it may not be exciting, but it just might prove valuable to see how someone else solves their problems.