The making of a custom gun

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by swanshot, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    It all started back in a more innocent age, about three years ago. I say “more innocent” because I was very naïve, I had no idea what went into a project of this sort, and I must say that it has increased my vocabulary of expletives considerably.

    I had decided that I wanted a long range high power accurate pistol. Now any sensible person would have purchased a Thompson contender and been done with it. Not me!
    Ohhhhhh no, I’m not a sensible person, I wanted something different.

    I was browsing a collectors book and came across a picture of a European free pistol built on a small martini action and thought “yes, yes that’s it, I love it”. And so it came to pass.

    We have a resident semi retired expat English gunsmith at the club and he agreed to take it on. Over the course of this project we became close friends. It was either that or come to fisticuffs. I got hold of a couple of cadet actions, a greener and a BSA and a new un-profiled 14 twist 308 rifle barrel. We were all set to go. Having brought a rifle barrel I decided to create a matching carbine with the remaining 18 inches of barrel.

    My first thought for a caliber was the 7.62x39 but the Martini extractor is not easily adapted to rimless cases, so we decided to stay with a rimmed round. I can’t remember the exact process, except to say it was fueled by beer, but we somehow arrived at 30/357.
    This being a 357mag case necked down to 308.

    First we modified the action to a side lever and trust me when I say that this is a whole story in itself. Ground a new chamber reamer from a 12 mm straight reamer. Chambered the barrel, set it up, modified the extractor, made a grip for it, and mounted a sight on the barrel. Then down the range to test fire. Disaster!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh.


    The cases would not extract. I tried different powders, different loads, different cases, no go. The only loads that allowed extraction where not worth the bother. Sheeeeesh!.
    So we polished the chamber till it was like a mirror, opened the throat out, it was getting better, but still not good, and then we started splitting case necks. We had opened the throat out too much. I faced the grim reality of having spent over $1000 on a gun that didn’t work. It became apparent that the cases just couldn’t tolerate the pressures I needed. I suck my thumb in my mouth, sat in a corner and sulked for six months.
    The lovely Mrs. Swanshot, already less than impressed by my pillaging raids on the household budget was ominously quiet about it. Ohhhhh God!! The humiliation.

    Six months later, armed with nothing more that a tax return cheque and a bloody minded refusal to accept defeat we revisited the project. This time we decided that the 30 Herrett (a shortened 30/30), was the way to go. Couldn’t get a reamer in Aus and the only reamers in the US were special made to order jobs that cost an arm and leg. Why do I do these things, why, why, why? Being the clever fellows that we are Ken and I decided that we could just grind down a 30/30 reamer. Too easy right? Yeah right. The creation of this reamer is yet another story in itself, but let it be sufficient to say Ken (I’m not gonna take the blame), stuffed up and what we finished up with we named the 7,62x35 R (rimmed).
    IT WORKS, IT WORKS!!!! He, he, he, ho, ho, ho, Whooeeee!! I’ve got what I set to get. I’m like a dog with two tails. But-----There’s always a but, the barrel had to be cut down to get rid of the old (oversized) throat, so now it is only 91/2 inches. Now I’m due another tax return cheque and I’m thinking 14 inches of fluted barrel in 13 twist should be just about right.

    In the meantime I’ve got his thing shooting 30mm (1.1/4 inch) groups at 100 mts and it is consistent out to 200 i.e. 2.1/2 inch groups, which is no too shabby from a pistol.
    This is using an 110gn projectile at 2000 ft/sec.

    The top pic is the original concept
    2nd is the failed 30/357
    And the last is the success.
    Some of you may recall that I was lookin for a 7x Burris scope last week; This is what it's for.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  2. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    This is a test target shot a couple of weeks ago. That group measures exactley 30mm center to center. The taped over holes are sighters.

    Range 100mts (110 yds)
    110 grn Hornady HP
    24.5 gns Alliant Reloader 7
    2000ft/sec
  3. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    Oops, sorry. This is the target

    Attached Files:

  4. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    One inch grouping looks fine to me, Swannie. Almost unbelievable at 100+ yards !!!!!!

    Wish I could shoot a handgun that well..... :)
  5. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    I'm doin it off a bench marlin. Ken, the gunsmith who built this for me can outshoot me with his gun every time:eek: every time. I kid you not.
  6. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    That's a nicely put together piece, Swannie.

    Think the cartridge will ever catch on in the States?:D
  7. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    Thank you campin.
    No--not in the US. You guys seem to like lots and lots of grunt:):) and this little round comes in somewhere between the 30 carbine and the 30/30.

    I did use the carbine in the same calibre on feral goats, and out to 150yds it made em fall over real dead:D:D
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  8. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    Hmm, wonder how it would work on feral pigs?
  9. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    Now here is a animal that you need lots and lots of thump for. Goats are easy to kill. Pigs aren't. I've done quite a bit of pig shootin, and would you believe that the best "knock that porker on his ass" round I ever used was a 38/55.
    But this little round in a single shot rifle is just not enough
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  10. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    This is the carbine with the pistol in the earlier 30/357 chambering. It too was rechambered to the 7.62x35. I love this little rifle. Lite as a feather, shoots 1.5MOA and adaquate for light game like goats at 100mts.
    In this pic they are at the "raw metal" first test stage.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    in thinkin a .45/70 necked to .30 in a similar set-up would probably just about field dress a feral hog if you hit him in the right spot:D
  12. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    Actually the one I'm keeping an eye out for is the 303 British Martini.
    They converted a whole heap of the old 577/450 Martini's when they recalibred. They are getting pretty rare now. The 303 is part of the Australian heratige too, and I'd stand up to just about anthing with one.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  13. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    i agree the .303 brit is a fine round, just got done loading a box full for my mk.1 #4 SMLE. truly fine weapons...
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