View Full Version : First build- boy, am I learnin'.....I think.

Sand Pirate
September 29, 2001, 21:58
Just had to brag to you guys. Started building an Imbel kit from Dan's, on a DSA receiver from the group buy. Here's how it went.....

U.S. parts dropped right in the DSA receiver, no problems at all. After getting my receiver wrench from Larry (thank you sir, it's purrrty, and it works well), I see the bbl times to 10:30 hand tight. OK, bastard file, slow, just a few swipes, recheck. 10:30, no change. Repeat, bear down harder on the file, screw it back in. 10:30. Repeat, 6 passes around the shoulder with file this time, metal filings on the workbench. 10:30, and it's even, no high spots. Hmmmmm.

Repeat, 8 passes around the shoulder, lots of filings on the bench. Test, AHA! 10:40, progress. I see now, it just takes some time. Another 8 strokes in all 8 positions, should be at about 10:50, check it....

Oh my gosh! 11:45 hand tight? How can that be? Close garage doors, neighborhood kids don't need to hear that kind of language. It's like trying to warm up the bath water, add a little hot, nothing, add a little more, nothing, add a little more, 2nd degree burns...

Shim stock, cut to fit, hand tight to 10:50 or so. Good enough. Decided to make my own bbl vise out of hardwood. Lay out bbl, carve relief in each half. Dremel to perfection. Sheet lead, lovingly cut to fit the cutouts, hand molded into the halves, perfect. Total time to fashion bbl vise inserts, hour and a half.

Insert bbl into insert halves, then into the bench vise. Crack "hardwood" vise inserts. Total time, 8 seconds. Order steel bbl blocks from Brownell's. Bribe next-door-neighbor with ammo to get more sheet lead.

Next weekend, try again. Sheet lead into steel blocks, add bbl, into the vise. Hey, that's gonna work! Spin the receiver on with Larry's purrrty wrench, use the two rod method to find 12:00. Ta dahhh! Perfect barreling job, torque wrench reads 120 foot-pounds. Gas piston slides freely back and forth. Neighbor is quite impressed. Neighbor wants to see new DSA handguards on the rifle before I check headspace. Neighbor wants to know if the metal ring I asked him to hold has anything to do with the handguards, or the look on my face. Neighbor laughs uncontrollably. Neighbor retreats to his house under a barrage of sheet lead clippings.

Remove bbl, rebarrel with ^%$@ ring in place. Time to headspace. Pound in original locking shoulder, insert go gauge, bolt won't close. Remove extractor, that might help. Nope. Remove firing pin, that might help. Ummm, no. Remove massive amounts of wood chips in the chamber from previously mentioned homemade bbl vise abortion? Yep, that helps, but the LS is still just too big.

Order gauge pins from MCDIRECT. You honestly didn't expect me to file the shoulder blind, did you? See barrel timing abortion mentioned above in paragraphs 3 and 4.

On a serious note, I AM learning. Once my pins get in, I plan to headspace this beast and make thunder. It's fully assembled now, leaning against the TV. I point to it about every 4 minutes and tell the wife and kids "I built that."

Once I know for sure this one shoots right, I'll start on the refinished G-1 kit from DSA. Couldn't have done it without this board and all it's helpful members. Thanks guys.

September 29, 2001, 22:08
I laughed my butt off. Funny guy. Sounded like my first build.

September 30, 2001, 00:00
I woke my wife up at 0130 hrs to show her my first "build."

It didn't work either.

September 30, 2001, 00:11
Gee, I can't wait to start mine?
I think I need to read about 500 more posts here before I even unpack the G1.

September 30, 2001, 00:12
Jeter, this guy sounds like a relative of yours. If I can ever get my parts, I'll probably have a funnier, or at least stupider story, except my buddy Joe who is a machinist type and loves FAL's will probably save my tush.

Sand Pirate
September 30, 2001, 07:54
Oh, it could have been much worse. The neighbor with the sheet lead clippings in his hair is a retired Navy Master Chief. He worked in the machine shop of a sub tender for 22 years. For those of you not familiar with them, sub tenders can basically build a new sub from scratch if they must. This guy can do ANYTHING involving metal or wood. Tim the Toolman makes the pilgrimage to my neighbor's house once a year (as mandated in the Snap-on Holy Grail).

I told him I wanted to learn how to do this on my own, but under his watchful eye. I instructed him to stop me only if he saw me doing something felony stupid. Misdemeanor idiocy (short of bloodshed or flash fires) was to be allowed for my education.

He stopped me twice. He doesn't know guns that well, but he knows metal inside and out. Between him and you guys on the board, I'm gonna end up with two rifles that work, and a new appreciation for gunsmiths and armorers.

September 30, 2001, 10:53
So what did you do that made him intervene (so I don't do it ;) )?

October 01, 2001, 09:52
After reading this topic I had to clean coffee of the screen! Luckily the keyboard was still in the desk. We all learn from other's mistakes (I hope). Sand Pirate, What did you do that made him stop you? About those damn h/g caps, A buddy of mine told me to leave it on the barrel and tape it to the gas block. No more worries on that subject.

October 01, 2001, 10:36
Kind of reminds me of the "first time"....
When I was finished, I went to the front yard at 12:35 AM and emptied a mag into the yard...living in the country does have it's advantages.
A true WECSOG adventure!

Sand Pirate
October 02, 2001, 06:38
OK, I'll break. The first time he stopped me, I was gonna use a grinder to put a "safe" edge on my bastard file (by the way, at what age does a grown man stop giggling when he types the word "bastard"; it's not 36). I tried to take the metal rest off of the grinder, it was in my way. He told me, in very graphic terms, what can happen when you do that.

The second, well, I feel stupid. Let's put it this way. You know how the electric heating element on your stove quits glowing red, but is still hot enough to fuse titanium? Well, a barrel heated with MAPP gas is the same way. I reached to grab it, and this old man slapped my hand. Hard. I was clueless. I was thinking Alzheimers had caught up with him, time for some Depends diapers for the geezer. So I slapped him back. He explained, I felt really stupid. Then he told me if I ever slapped his arm again, he'd just let me incinerate my hand next time.

October 02, 2001, 10:18
Sand Pirate, You're killing me!! :D :D You're lucky he hung around after you slapped him back. I remember 15 years ago an old gentleman was trying to show me how to rebuild my Malibu's Q-jet carb, My dad didn't know nothing about cars. Some idiots had screwed it up real good at a local shop. I asked the old fellow a lot of questions and I know I pissed him off a few times. He was a patient man. Most of the older guys woulda chewed/whipped some ass and left you there.

October 02, 2001, 10:21
Sand Pirate, Glad you shared the info. Most gun nuts talk about mistakes. Other people wouldn't admit it.

[ October 02, 2001: Message edited by: DWS ]

AR Thumper
October 02, 2001, 21:29
Sand Pirate, Just a tip, The locking sholders will go in and out a whole lot easier with the bolt & carrier out of the Reciever :rolleyes: Welcome to the world of FAL ;) Thumper

Sand Pirate
October 03, 2001, 21:06
Nah, my neighbor is a first-rate man. We get along great, and he has taught me a million little things about working metal and wood.

A perfect example. When I was getting ready to file the lead strips to fit in my barrel vise blocks, he says, real casually, "Put chalk on your file." From past experience, I know not to ask why, just do it. So I get my little girl's sidewalk chalk, and scrub the file with it. Whole file is white. Then I start to file. Hmmmm, nothing different. When I get done, he says "Figured out the chalk yet?" No sir. "Chalk keeps the lead from building up in the grooves of your file. Now you don't have to spend 2 ^&$**& hours cleaning your %$##@! file with a %$#^%& wire brush!" (Remember, he's ex-Navy)

Little stuff like that. He's a gold mine. He even looks after the family when I'm on orders away.

January 06, 2003, 23:25
I dunno if I wanna tell my FAL build story. :)

0230 in the morning, everyone is asleep, and I can't. Perfect time to build a FAL. I'm in the basement, trying to build this quietly. I gots my receiver in the clamp, and I'm reefing up on this barrel wrench to get the barrel to time. "11:30 ish.... I can get it tighter." I should have cut the shoulder down. I didn't. I get a piece of pipe and put it on the wrench and give it all hell.

About this point in time, the wrench breaks. Upward force A is more than wrench weight B. Thus the wrench, pipe, and me go flying. Pipe hits the basement ceiling/upstairs floor (Right under the bedrooms mind you) at 400 MPH. Wrench fragment goes through basement window I am in front of. I fall over, and knock over my 35 gallon air compressor, which happens to tip over and snag a piece of 3/8" round stock that was cut at a sharp 72 deg angle after it rips the cord in two and blows the circuit breaker, killing all the lights. All 150 PSI normalizes to atmospheric pressure through that 3/8" hole, making a sound that would wake the dead. BWASSSSSSCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

By the time I get my bearings and check for injury, I'm looking down a dark outline of a barrel. My old man is down in the basement in his drawers, brandishing a 1911 A1, thinking someone is breaking in the house. Mom is on the phone callin 911 and going apeshit.

After that, it is preferred I don't work on late night projects. :)

January 07, 2003, 02:19
Enjoyed the story Sand Pirate. Another bit of of advice, A Master Chief is next to ...well.....let's just say Godliness with BIG polished brass cojone's. They are to be obeyed.:eek:

January 07, 2003, 02:41
I only have three things to add. First,.. when you get ready to barrel, squeeze the handguard retaining ring into your eye socket like a monocle. It'll hurt,.. you won't forget it,.. you'll be looking for a reason to remove it. Don't remove it until you're ready to slide it onto the barrel. Next,.. throw away the file,.. and lastly, get some anti seize agent to put on the threads of the barrel shank. A barrel that hand times at 10:30 is just about right for somebody with a can of anti seize and a great big breaker bar.

January 07, 2003, 10:42
Just on the off chance I may have served with the MC, ask him if he ever served on the Hunley AS31. Say from 73-75. You never know!

January 07, 2003, 18:51
My dad was a MC steel worker. Life was hell when I was young but I learned allot from him.

Sand Pirate
January 07, 2003, 21:26
Will do bybon, I'll ask him. I know he was based out of Norfolk for several years, then Charleston for the rest of his time.

January 07, 2003, 23:02
Thank you. US Naval Weapons Station Goose Creek South Carolina.