Sunday, February 19, 2023

Testing, testing 123

 A barrel was fit to Ser # 0001 and chambered for 375 H&H, 1-14 Twist, with a 24" finished length 

Skunk-Works at its best 

Then it was glassed bedded into a Test Fire stock, scoped and taken for the first test drive 

1st four rounds out of the rifle after assembly. The sighter and fouling round impact is shown low and left. A rough scope correction is made and the Next 3 rounds land high and right of center.  Matt Rowberry was the trigger man for these first groups. 

Factory Remington Safari Grade 300gr Swift A-Frames 

Then Bret Wursten sent 3 Barnes 300gr Vortex Round nose solids down range 


When given some leash this barrel, receiver, stock and combined effort of materials and engineering will do its best to amaze even me. Here are three, three shot groups fired back to back with Hand-Loads using a combination of 1 TSX, 1 Barnes Banded Flat-nose Solid and 1 Woodleigh Hydro in each group. All these bullets weighed 300grs. The 1st group fired is on the left. A scope correction was made and the middle and right hand groups are shot.
MY, my, my

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Putting together Ser # 0001 late one evening Part 5

Prototype number 1 was completely assembled late one evening and run through the paces as best one can do without a barrel installed. So far, so good.

  LX-1 Specifications 


If anything, the LX is a return to the earlier basics of bolt action engineering with one pivotal twist and that is the implementation of computer-generated modeling, machining done with modern multiple axis machining centers, implementing modern materials coupled with advanced heat treatment capabilities for those materials chosen. 


The idea behind the project was to combine what I considered the best features from a variety of receivers made in the past and blend these together into a singular modern manufactured big game receiver. Then machine the parts with 100% repeatability from one receiver to the next.


Within reason the design did not have meet a specified budget ceiling rather it was more important to maintain the accuracy of all the final parts being the objective and not a price point. 


The end goal was to produce a receiver and bolt that did not require blue printing, a receiver that did not require the rebuilding the trigger, safety and fire control system. Having a feeding system that was properly set up to begin with and a scope mount system that was bullet proof right out of the box. 


Having spent the last 4 decades re-vamping, modifying and morphing pre-existing receivers into what I considered reliable actions for Big Game hunting I finally had to admit I’d become very tired of repairing and repainting the same old fence. 


Points of interest


1.  The receiver body is made from 416 Stainless material. These are available in Right- and Left-handed models. The flat bottom of the receiver is like the Winchester Model 70. The sides of the receiver are radial in cross section and then tapered under the stock line to allow ease in bedding and removal from the bedded cavity. The action utilizes 3 guard screws with the front screw mated into a boss that takes full advantage of the thread form in width and length. The barrel threads within the receiver are cut to 1.062 x 16 TPI The bolt face utilizes a cone breech design. There will be no need to blueprint this receiver as it happened at birth.


2. The Bolt Body is made of Chrome-Moly Steel along with 98% of the remaining parts of the receiver group. This change in steel composition allows the C/M bolt to operate or run with noticeably less friction when the bolt is manipulated. The amount of material left on the bolt handle root also blocks the extractor slot behind the ejection port of the bolt raceway as a physical gas block. There will be no need to blueprint this bolt body for the same reasons of design.


3.  The bolt stop was designed to be robust. The flange of the stop itself acts as a gas block within the solid side of the bolt raceway. The back side of the stop fits flat against a pocket machined into the receiver that will take the impact of the bolt being manipulated under stress. Pressing the rear of the stop against the receiver pivots the stop away from the receiver allowing you to remove the bolt body with one hand if necessary. 


4. The scope bases are integrally machined into the receiver eliminating the need for an externally fit scope base secured by 4 screws alone. These dovetails are machined very low on the receiver and are designed with a .010 down slant angle towards the muzzle.


5. The Trigger is a direct copy of the original Model 70 trigger. The advantage of this design was the brilliance of so few moving parts and is impossible to put out of commission environmentally. The LX version is machined to closer tolerance than the original M-70 trigger could be machined due to manufacturing tolerances and cost constraints at the time.


6. The claw extractor system is arguably hard beat on a big game hunting rifle. The LX features a claw extractor made from appropriate machined steel and fit for the OD groove diameter of the cartridge cases to be used when requested. The length of the extractor places the tail or rear end to the extractor under the rear bridge of the receiver to prevent the extractor from being stripped off the bolt body during manipulation of the bolt under stress. 


7. The bolt shroud is machined, timed and fit to prevent the shroud, firing pin and safety as an assembled unit from rising away from the sear pad, thereby effecting the weight of pull of the trigger. The shroud supports a 3-position wing safety. Allowing the rifle to be properly unloaded with the safety still engaged. A flange on the leading edge of the shroud also acts as a directional gas shield at the rear of the bolt notch raceway.


8. The Floorplate and Trigger Bow assembly are made in a 3-piece design with a release latch lever located inside in the bow. The Magazine boxes and followers are made cartridge specific; One Size does not fit all with the LX-1. The magazine boxes are made from heat treated steel and will not distort over time when used with heavy recoiling rounds. Currently there are 3 separate magazine boxes available. Group # 1 is designed for the 25-06 up through the 35 Whelen, the 2nd group is designed for the standard belted magnums, such as 264 Winchester, 7mm Remington, 300 Winchester, 416 Remington up to the 458 Lott. The 3rd magazine box is designed for the 300 H&H and 375 H&H Magnum.


9. The scope rings are made from heat treated 4130 Chrome-Moly steel. Currently they are available in 1”, 30mm and 34mm ID diameters and in a selection of heights to keep the scope as low in height that is reasonably possible. They will allow most 50 mm objectives too clear a sporter weight contour barrel. The limiting factor is the mounting length of the straight tube section on any given scope. These rings can be detached in 30 seconds to allow a variety of scopes to be used, a backup scope to be quickly installed to replace a damaged primary scope. A recoil stop is machined integrally into the clamp jaw of each ring and prevents any forward or rearward movement of the scope during recoil. 


10.  In an effort to reduce weight for those that feel physically challenged the following parts will be available in 7075 Aluminum. The follower, 1” and 30mm scope rings as well as the Floor Plate and Trigger Bow Assemblies can also be made of 7075. This option only applies to Legends and not Classics. Everything else will be made of Carbon or Stainless steel. 


Monday, February 6, 2023

"The word is Plastics" Part 4

3D printing has become my friend, draw the part, print the part and review the part before you make one from steel. What is not to like?

From idea, too CAD, to plastic, to concept fruition.

Of course none of these parts could be used to build a functional firearm but the 3D printed parts do offer you a visual model to tweak a design concept or abandon it. 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

An LX-1 For that 10 percent Part 3

In the early design stages I was asked "Will there be any made in Left Hand and if so when ?". How many Left Hand LX-1 receivers will be made is still a guess at this time. In this 1st run of we elected to make 2 to begin with, both of these are dedicated to future projects  

From Concept To Prototypes Part 2

There is a point when the mouse, the calipers and in my case even the pencil are set aside and chips need to me made. With most of the initial fixtures now on-line material began to arrive and be cut to length.

Deep hole drilled, reamed and moved into the next stage of production team CVM is caught in a lighter moment 

With the first machine operation completed the pair is prepped for the next OP. Notice the lower half of the recoil lug located on the northern end of these two billets. Ser # 0001 and  #0002 began to take shape.


While these first receivers were being made I spent more than a few hours in the plant watching the magic unfold. When this receiver was pulled off the fixture I must have resembled a Raccoon with a newly found piece of tin foil, It was difficult to let go. 



The quality of the CVM machine finish is always excellent 

The receiver is one thing, the additional parts then began to add up. With the exception of the Floor-plate, trigger bows, magazine boxes and followers which I have had produced for decades the rest of the newly designed parts began to fall into place.

With each run of prototype parts any revisions or modifications that had to be addressed were done on a 1st and 2nd run individual pieces. Once satisfied with the results the run of those parts were completed 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

From note pad to concept Part 1


I have often been excused of glacial movement in everything I do. So true to character it took 43 years of pushing a boulder uphill to finally evolve enough and design a bolt action receiver that would be a cut above what I'd been using most of my career.

I knew what I wanted from the basic skeleton. I pushed around some rough sketches in my mind and when time permitted I began working on some prototypes parts. All this R&D was pretty random at first. Without trying to reinvent the basic bolt action design my goal was to incorporate subtle features I liked about a number of receivers such as the Brno ZG-47, Winchester Model 70, and even some of the DNA from the Remington 700. 

All of these previous receivers were being made with the current technology of their time but one thing was for sure there were no 5 and 7 axis mills and lathes available in the earlier eras. 

Bret Wursten and I trolling ideas

In this fantasy atmosphere I wondered what it would be like not to be constrained within a budget that cut corners where you actually needed those damned corners. I've been reattaching those corners for decades, Working within this imagined "no bottom line" framework some ideas began to come together. 

For the next couple years every operation I preformed on the lathe or mill I imagined how I could eliminate these modifications or corrections if they were already built into a new platform. 

Bret Wursten, the owner of Central Valley Machine would prod me ever so often and ask me when I wanted to put these ideas into motion? Then one day while we sat on a ridge line glassing for mule deer he poked me with a stick and said the following "Starting next week I want you to give me a half a day per week with our Solid Works Engineers and put whatever concepts you have rattling around in that thick skull of yours at least into a digital file". I'd run out of excuses. 

We didn't miss very many of those meetings over the next 10 months. I would arrive with a few notes, maybe a sketch drawn on a napkin and we'd go to work. James would be called in to assisted when we needed to know how or if we were going to be even able to hold and machine a certain part. The weeks rolled by. Neal would drive the mouse I would look at the image and say, "We need more Cow Bell right there"


Neal sent these images over before the machine work was to begin and made following comment. "Enclosed are some of the figures you've been carrying around in your head for quite a few years".