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Thread: My 2nd Krag

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  1. #141
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Alas I don't have a floor press.

    EDIT: The more I think about it, the two challenges is just getting them started, and then which order to drill them in. I have to triple check, but I think the top edge of the leg hole or bottom groove is just below the center of the main hole on the top. Then of course the cleaning rod hole straddle the center of the main hole. If I get them started good and straight with a router, then do the cleaning rod holes, forstner bit to deepen the main holes and the channel on the top (this one first), I can put a spade on an extension to get the rest of the dept good and straight. But, first thing is first, got to square off the butt. I'm not worried about the holes being straight (should I be?). I've free-handed similar holes in less critical projects. the trick to getting them straight is to keep the drill close to the wood as possible, adding extensions as you go deeper.
    Last edited by ssgross; 09-20-2021 at 10:47 AM.

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  3. #142
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Drilling Krag Buttstock lightening holes - measurements

    Did some measuring of my original stock's butt, and laid out a template.
    First, I traced my buttplate, cut it out. I marked measured twice along two horizontals, and found their midpoint, and used this to get the centerline. I then transferred the template to my new butt, used a pushpin to mark these and get the centerline down the new butt. Looks to be be very perfect.

    The location of the bottom screw on the template doesn't need to be exact right now. We are just going to use it as a reference point. In the end, we will carefully line up the template with with this reference to mark the center of all our holes.
    Attachment 120199
    In case someone else finds this, and doesn't have a good quality original for comparison, here are all the measurements.

    Main hole's diameter: 1"
    Channel on upper hole: 5/8"
    Center distance measured from lower screw center
    Bottom hole: 0.840"
    Channel: 1.860"
    Top hole: 2.148"

    these measurements put the top of the 5/8 channel above the center of the top hole, making it tough to drill them separately. I'll have to get the big one started, maybe 1" deep, then use a router to get the channel down to the same depth. Then, I can finish the channel's hole, and finally use the circumference of the main hole to guide guide my bit down. For this, the bottom edge of the channel becomes the reference point...it is 1.520 from the bottom screw's center. And of course the cleaning rod holes should be done first.

    Cleaning rod hole diameters (not pictured): I think they are 7/32". A 15/64 rod goes in barely, a 1/4 does not at all. I think the holes are a little tired from the years. Does anyone have an original cleaning rod set and can mic the diameter for me?

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  5. #143
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    With a little luck...I think I'll call it done. I got both main holes done to final depth. The goofy channel for the spare parts kit is impossible to do by hand. I walked it down as far as my forstner bit would let me. You can see the chatter on edges of the hole. I alternated for half the depth...a little bit of the channel with a 5/8 bit, than take the main whole to the same depth or slightly below and so on until I felt I couldn't control it anymore. The channel goes about half the depth. Perhaps if I ever get a floor press, I'll come back and finish it. Right now, I'm happy I have a place to hide letters, and that the balance will be close to original.
    I don't think I'm going to do the cleaning rod holes, but easy enough to do.
    Attachment 120207Attachment 120208Attachment 120209
    In the end, my "guess" for the location of the bottom screw center was within 1/64 of actual...close enough. To get all my locations on wood, I lined my mark for the screw on the template onto the buttplate, and trimmed the bottom flush with the metal. Then I lined the bottom of the template on the wood, leaving just barely enough at the toe to allow sanding. Turns out the stockmaker didn't leave me much to work with. When I finished and lined my buttplate up, the metal is already pretty flush with wood on the tang, and the toe is dead even. So, the actual location of the bottom screw ended up 1/64 lower than I laid out, so all my lightening holes are 1/64 high, but only my micrometer knows the difference. I may have to bed the top slightly after sanding so the toe stays even.
    Last edited by ssgross; 09-22-2021 at 02:51 AM.

  6. #144
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    Well, poopy. My most fortunate luck so far with this stock just ran out.

    First, in fitting the lower band. After squaring edge of the band's stop, and sliding it down, I saw the the forend is 10 thous. wide. This at least is an easy fix. Easy peasy right? wrong. I slid the band down only to find out that there is a gap underneath. Measuring, I found the distance from top woodline to bottom at the location of the band is short, 30 thous. compared to my original stock. It gets worse. With the inside edges of the band flush to the top wood, there is a gap between band and metal. After some reading (1941 the modern gunsmith James Howe), I've concluded the band should make contact with the barrel, but not bind it. So, only one thing to do...Sand down the top wood line to allow the band to ride lower. But, this transfers the gap above the barrel to the bottom. In the end, the gap at the bottom is...you guessed it 30 thous., and quite noticeable. For now, I made a shim out of 2 strips of nylon felt left over from doing the inside of my safe. After a beer to calm my disappointment, I'm thinking before I'm fully done, I will use a hand plane to get a few good, even shavings from the middle of the stock where he left it square, and "graft" some strips onto the underside to make a permanent shim for the band. I'll say something to the maker when I'm all done. I have a feeling this won't be my last krag.

    Lower band problem solved...on to the top band. Distance from top to bottom is short again, but only by 10 thous., and also wide by 10 thous. Easy peasy keep working the sides with a file until it goes all the way down with a push of a hand, but doesn't come back off without some light woodpecker taps from a mallet. Now, check with the action in place. No go. Why oh why? The criterion barrel is fat where the band goes...11 thous. wider than the originals. In fact, after dozens of measurements along the length, the only spots that seem to agree with the original barrels is the shank, and the area around the rear sight.
    I have 2 options then, shoe-shine sand my barrel till my arms fall off and re-blue it, or open up band. I think I'll be opening up the band. My idea is to wrap my barrel cellophane tape to protect it, and then use a piece of thin 2-sided tape to get a piece of sandpaper to stay in place on the upper half of where the band needs to fit. Put the band on and rock it side-to-side until the barrel perfectly in the band's channel like it's supposed to. After that, I'll check the final depth of the muzzle bed...just like the rear band, we want it to make contact with the barrel, but not bind it.

    ...and here I thought I might be able to shoot it this weekend before finish-profiling the outside, sanding staining, etc. sad face.

  7. #145
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I try not to do too much stock work, it takes patience which I no longer have...
    Regards, Jim

  8. #146
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    it takes patience which I no longer have
    I treat it as therapy
    But my patience is being tried on this one. Whenever I'm not feeling patient enough, I don't bother trying and go to something else. Not being in a good positive mood is the quickest way to f&*^ it up!
    I am bummed I will have to shim the lower band. It's far too late now to complain to the maker, and he only had the one on hand with no immediate hurry to make more unless I wanted a few. He's good people that would likely appreciate the feedback since he made the master pattern.
    The bottom stop for the upper band is also not low enough. The metal overhangs the wood by ~1/8.

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  10. #147
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    Whenever I'm not feeling patient enough, I don't bother trying and go to something else.
    I have to do that too. A classic example is a set of table knives I made handles for. I made them from a light colored hardwood and simply drilled and epoxied the tang in place. Now to shape them, oval and just the size of the base of the blade. I should do them one at a time for best result, one each day until done. I didn't and of course didn't get the perfect results. I get bored and want to be done so the end result is obvious.
    Regards, Jim

  11. #148
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    I get bored and want to be done so the end result is obvious.
    The key there is to maintain a backlog of things that equally interesting as when you started. Then again by this method success means you always have a long list of things not done, or partway done. There is an optimum number of things to have going on at once, and unfortunately it takes a lifetime to calculate it

    I suppose no matter what, I'll be happy with this krag so long as it shoots well. Somewhere Howe says that acceptable accuracy to leave the factory would have been in the range of 2.5 - 3.5 inch at 200 meters. If I can't tune it to this, I'll sell it, likely at a loss, and let it enjoy life as someone else's plaything....knock on wood. It's going to turn out fabulous, and I'll grin ear to ear with pride at pulling it off all on my own.

  12. #149
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    So, over lunch I cut back the 1/8 or so shoulder for the front band, so it sits flush with the tip of the forend. This also made the wood at the shoulder sit just a tad proud of metal, giving me room for scuff or two to flush in final sanding.

    Next, I worked on the band. Using my original Kragicon (which shoots lights out so must be set up right!), with the band screw loosened, the band slides on easy till the last 1/2 inch, but a gentle push sends it the rest of the way. It doesn't come off by hand very easy unless you really tug on it followed by a nasty cut on your hand from the front sight blade. But, the lightest of taps with a plastic punch pops it loose. The barrel contacts the top of the band, and with a dab of grease between the feel going on and off is the same with or without the barrel under the band. Just like Howe says...the band makes contact with the barrel but does not bind.

    So, after moving the shoulder back, I wiped the inside of the band with wd-40, and with no barrel under it tapped it all the way down. Taking it back off shows the high spots without making a mess of black. I kept scuffing these down until it went on and off with the exact same feel as my original.

    Now to fit it to the barrel...remember criterion made their barrels .011 fat in this area. Well, I marked off the location, taped on a piece of 150 paper, placed the band over it and rocked it back and forth till my hands fell off.
    Attachment 120356
    Once the sides of the band started to open up over the barrel, I switched to using the old barrel...the area just behind the front sight, with a piece of sandpaper over it, gives the exact same dimensions as I was looking for with my barrel. It took forever, but it worked. A final polish with finer papers, and a check shows my barrel now fits into the top of the band.

    Next, fit all three...wood band and barrel together. My band slides on only half way before it binds. I gently lowered the muzzle bed until the band went on and off with the same feel as the original...it's perfect.

    Lesson learned...I should have waited to blue everything. The band will need to be blued again from all the rocking I did to open its channel. abrasive on the paper worked its way into my hands and wore down the bluing. Oh well.

    Last step will be to tighten the action screws in, and do one last check for binding in the channel, so all lays in nice and flat from receiver flat to muzzle. Then we are done fitting, and I can work on the outside...and of course that handgaurd Suppose I could shoot it now with the stock fitted but still ugly...but that would likely jinx it all.

  13. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    Lesson learned...I should have waited to blue everything
    That's what I was told too and if I'd thought of it I'd have mentioned it. Do all the fitting work before blue, only makes sense. Now we remember...
    Regards, Jim

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