Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jerry Fisher Barrel Vise: Part 1

Over the past couple years we have been asked to build a couple of Legends fit and chambered with two  different calibers. This can be done if the parent case geometry is very similar for both cartridges. Examples of this would be for cartridges such as the  257 Roberts, 6.5x55, 75x7 as well as the 300 H&H and 375 H&H or a 300 Weatherby and the 416 Remington. You get the idea.

Now our switch barrels are not something that can be done with the flick of the wrist. The barrels must be removed by removing the front scope base and placing an action wrench over the front ring of the action and then clamping the barrel in a proper barrel vise. The last such rifle we assembled found me looking for a commercial vise for our client overseas and I could not find a single vise that I liked the looks of and I really searched the web. I'm sure some would have worked but to insure that the bluing is not scratched in this conversion requires both care by the operator and vise that is made with precision and versatility. Last December while visiting Jerry Fisher I was made privy to a barrel vise that he was having made at that vey moment for retail sales. The design is based off the original vise that he has used in his shop for over 40 years. I have used that vise many times in the past and the vise as well as concept work very well indeed.

This is not rocket science so a lengthly text is not required. The upper vise Jaw is supported by a group of coil springs located between the upper and lower halves of the vise. This feature alone is real asset as it allows you to slide the barrel and barrel bushings into the vise without the need of a 3rd hand. My present vise does not even have this feature and we need to be very diligent when installing the barrel in and out of the vise so as not to scratch the freshly blued action or barrel during the assembly. Jerry's vise also eliminates the use of a larger Allen Key and a  dead blow hammer to snug down the vise as the 4 nuts on the top side of the vise are to be tightened and then loosened with a socket head wrench instead. This eliminates the chance of the Allen key from bouncing loose as it's being slapped with the lead blow and ricocheting off your newly engraved and blued barrel. It short it's just a damn better mouse trap and would be a welcome addition to any shop that installs barrels of any type.

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