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LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch

This is a discussion on LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch within the High-End and Specialty Shotguns forums, part of the Shotgun Forum Discussions category; Hey All We finally got to a part of the build that could be carried out at home, so I put my Sunday to good ...



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Old 09-13-2020, 09:44 PM   #51
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LC Smith Build--Spotting in the Ersatz Barrels

Hey All
We finally got to a part of the build that could be carried out at home, so I put my Sunday to good use after the wife and I took in our live streamed service. Spotting in does not change much between mediums in my opinion. The spotting agent changes, the cutting speed of the material changes, and of course the closer the fit required, the more elbow grease you can expect to expend. The basic idea, however; does not change. You coat the engaging surface with a marker of some kind to indicate the high spots, you place the parts together to light up the high spots, and you remove them. You start with a coarse removal method, you graduate to a fine removal method, and you finish with a very fine removal method. Abrasives do not see much use, because they tend to cut on all surfaces and destroy the fit. The possible exception is the lapping compounds for metal to metal fit, but they can overcut at times also. Usually the scraper is the last word, be it for wood or metal.

Here in picture #1 and picture#2--the good old candle used to black the frame and then when mated with the wood the high spots are marked picture #3.

The soft wood pattern barrels cut very quickly, starting with a Shurform round file, and moving to a fine round rat tail. My farrier's rasp was used to touch up the face of the barrels as they began to come into contact. Picture #4

Picture #5--Here are the pattern barrels fitted and drawn up with the screw from underneath. Only a few hours work required.

Next up. . . get out the wooden extension rib and laminate it in.
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Old 09-19-2020, 06:24 AM   #52
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LC Smith Build--Install and Fit the Ersatz Top Rib Extension

Hey All
I continued working on the pattern barrels this week; once again I am arrived at a small portion of the build I can do here at home this weekend. Each weekday I managed to get in an hour or so before work in on the pattern barrels.

Here in picture #1 the wooden rib extension has been shaped to a reverse impression of the cutout in the breech end of the barrels and then the extension is glued in with 5 minute epoxy. The threaded shank of the T nut was filled with a bit of Johnson's Turtle car wax prior to gluing. This kept the threads clear of the epoxy and prevented any epoxy from leaking out of the pocket bottom. These precautions are absolutely necessary whenever working with Brownell's Acraglas later in the build, so we incorporate them now also. Mechanical bridging and overflowing must be assiduously avoided when working with Acraglas, or you can build in an unbelievable amount of extra work for yourself. Whenever the product runs onto a surface or into a pocket where you do not want it during gun work, a very permanent adhesion takes place and mechanical removal becomes necessary.

In picture #2, the wooden extension has been milled to .240 width to match exactly the extension cutout in the frame. It is left a bit deeper and longer than finished size and the spotting in of the rib Picture #3, is left for part of the home weekend project.

While we have access to the mill, Picture #4, the wooden barrels are set up and the top surfaces are profiled flat with an end mill to begin approximating the top rib.

Picture #5, we have gone about as far as we can with the mill, the hand shaping of the pattern barrels and fore end are pretty straightforward from here.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:19 AM   #53
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LC Smith Build--The Pattern Maker is Nearly Done

Hey All
One more benefit to these builds is you get to endorse a product or two along the way. The pattern barrels are very nearly complete now. I am filing and sanding out the last few rough areas each morning. During the process it occurred to me that the ribs and the lug area of the barrels could be built up a bit with something, rather than taking the time to get out wooden filler blocks and glue them into these areas. I decided to see what was out there for a wood filler these days, and bought this product by Elmer's at our local hardware store. Picture #1.
While this product finishes way too soft to be of any use for gun stock work, it is very useful in pattern making. It should be limited to fill areas in wood work, since it works well in compression, but you cannot build up a shoulder or an outside edge with it. The plus side is the water content has been vastly reduced from the fillers of old, so shrinkage is very minor, and the bond seems much improved. When I opened the container, I first thought the contents had expired. It is very dry, about like plumbers putty going on. This makes it very easy to work with and very little mess. Picture #2 shows the deep valley between the barrels at the breech end. Picture #4 the screw well coated with candle wax, then the screw installed and the area puttied up Picture #3. Picture #5 shows the bottom rib. It is amazing how close this rib came out. The process was done just as you would glaze a window pane in the old days, by wetting a finger and dragging the surface out to smooth the joint. Almost no finish sanding is required. The down side is the filler, while paintable, is probably not going to stain. I will shoot these "try" barrels with a clear coat spray sealer to get a harder surface that will clean up easily, and call it good.
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Last edited by 4575wcf; 09-23-2020 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:10 AM   #54
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LC Smith Build--Try Barrels Finished and Lacquered

Hey All
This is my first post in awhile. Work is busy, the youngsters are all on 10 hour shifts, so the shop is anything but quiet in the AM now. I am still getting my hour in on the project in the mornings but . . . .

Here in Picture #1 through #4 various views of the try barrels as they came out. I took the time to finish them pretty decently because they are essentially a shop fixture, and will be expected to be around awhile. The ID lettering turned out to be something of a challenge, Picture #5. Initially I thought to set the lettering into the wood with metal stamps, ink in the letters, and then finish over them. Probably this would work in a hardwood, but not in these soft dowels. I could come up with nothing legible at all so I made up the aluminum plate pictured, inlet and attached it. Only the brass front bead is remaining to get out, it is in the tiny Unimat lathe here at home 60% completed. I am making it from a large brass cup holder hook, it will go in with a wood thread in place.

Next step will be getting the rotary locking mechanism sprung and working and then cut the notch into the try barrel extension to clear the locking tooth. With the top snap assembly sprung, and working smoothly, the tangs will be in their correct places, and so I can begin fitting the butt stock.
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LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03637.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03638.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03639.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03642.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03636.jpg  

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Old 10-21-2020, 06:38 AM   #55
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LC Smith Build--Make up a Hardware Screw for the Top Lever

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Yesterday mornings project consisted of getting out a "mush" bolt version of the bottom screw that holds the top lever into the lower bearing seat in the trigger plate. This was the first step in assembling the top lever\locking bolt assembly. This screw is a tiny #4-40 that screws into the bottom of the top lever stem that has quite a job to do. I chose a hardware screw that had a little bit of hardness and integrity to begin with since this screw could very easily be necked off in the hole if tightened up much. I doubt if any existing screw will be found in the #4-40 size with a head big enough to fill the clamping counterbore of the bottom plate. I started with a screw of #6-32 size, and chucked it up in our tiny 3 jaw chuck that we chuck up in the larger independent 4 jaw chuck for tiny detailed jobs such as this. Chucking only on the head I hacksawed the screw to length, then turned the threaded length to .110 thousandths diameter. This was followed by a #4-40 rethreading die wrenched on using the flat front of the Jacobs drill chuck in the tailstock to keep things lined up flat.

Picture #1 shows another of the #6-32 screws, and the modified one in the rethreading die

Picture #2 shows the modified screw started in the top lever stem.

Picture #3 shows the screw installed, but the head is not fitted at this point

Picture #4 shows the head fitted up, but needs the slot deepened still, and the screw head filed down to flush.

Picture #5, the top lever is mounted and the screw installed and tightened up. We have free movement of the lever, but no end play per say so our fit will work as is; however the top lever has been bent down at the thumbpiece a slight amount at some point in the past, and does not turn to center over the tang easily. Today we will do a bit of judicious straightening until the top lever swings smoothly and tight to the top tang with a minimum of clearance underneath, as it should.
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Last edited by 4575wcf; 10-21-2020 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 10-21-2020, 09:59 PM   #56
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LC Smith Build--Top Lever Adjusted to Clear and Retaining Screw Dressed Out

Hey All
This morning I clamped the top lever in the milling machine vise by the two flat sides and bent it upwards at the thumbpiece a bit to get proper clearance underneath. See Picture #1. The lever bent easily--way too easily in fact. I suspect that it has been annealed at some point since it behaves like a piece of soft mild steel would under similar conditions. A file will catch and cut the top lever easily, but not so anywhere on the rest of the frame. I would not trust it to stay put under field handling in its present soft state at any rate. No worries, we will just need to be a bit gentle with it until such time as the color hardening process is carried out, as for now we can do the minor weld repair on the top edge that I previously mentioned, and finish fitting it up. If I had to venture a guess, I would say that someone previously applied some heat, too much heat, in an attempt to free the rusted rotary bolt/coupler assembly. When I had the lever bent and pivoting to suit me, I went ahead and dressed out the temporary hardware screw holding the top lever in place. Picture #2.

Next up. . . get the new made rotary bolt installed and turning with the original coupler and top lever.
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:52 PM   #57
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LC Smith Build--New Rotary Bolt in and Front Bead Finished

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We had a pretty windy fall day here on the Snake River Plain, and none too warm so I stayed in the shop here at home and finished up a couple of chores on the build. First I did the last bit of turning on the front bead for the try barrels on the tiny Unimat lathe, predrilled a hole and installed it. I filed in a couple of wrench flats on the washer shaped surface under the bead for a means of screwing it in place without damage. See Picture #1.

Next I installed the new made rotary bolt into the frame and put the top lever assembly together with the soft hardware screws that I have modified for the purpose. Once I got everything in place and tightened up, the bolt was locked up and not budging. By trial and error I established the bolt was tightening up in the front of the counterbore, so I began lapping with the trigger plate doll's head up and out of the recess, and applying light pressure forward. I continued until the trigger plate dropped into place, and the bolt was turning freely with all the assembly screws tight. It took a few hours to get the bolt fitted in and working properly, but that probably is to be expected given the rather complex relationship of the working parts.

Her in Picture #2 is the frame recess for the rib extension, with the top lever thrown all the way right and unlocked. The bolt is fully rotated to the right, where it would be locked up on the trip, and the slot is lined up for the rib extension to drop through unhindered.
Picture #3--the top lever is rotated 1/4 of the way to center, the trip would be pushed down out of engagement, and the tooth just beginning to enter the hole through the rib extension
Picture #4--the top lever is rotated 3/4 of the way to center, the tooth has gone through the hole in the rib extension, and just beginning to slide under the opposite side of the slot.
Picture #5--Here is as good a view of the famous LC Smith self tightening feature as you are likely to get. The curved bottom surface of the tooth is mated to a matching curved surface in the bottom of the rib extension. When the gun is finished the top lever will be about 1/8 inch right of center at the thumbpiece, and under constant pressure from the top lever spring. Initial firing will begin to peen the high spots between the two surfaces, small as they might be, and wear between the mated surfaces as the bolt rotates back and forth through the rib extension will begin to smooth them. The fit will indeed improve with use and continue to do so until such time as the tooth bottoms in its slot and all of the spring loaded adjustment is gone. Then wear will begin to work against the assembly, but that should be in another lifetime or so.

You will remember the offset pocket that we built into the rotary bolt--and this is the what and why of it's purpose.
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Last edited by 4575wcf; 10-26-2020 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 10-30-2020, 06:14 AM   #58
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LC Smith Build--Moving On To the New Coupler

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With the new rotary bolt in and turning smoothly with the original top lever and coupler, it is time to get out the new coupler and incorporate it into the mix. By building and troubleshooting each component individually, we are less likely to get bound up on a surface that is not easy to see.

Picture #1--Another scrap of Accraloy 4140 pre hard is set up in the small lathe and the first two turning cuts are made. The front pin diameter is turned 1/8 in diameter, the second to 3/16 diameter. The front pin is turned to a full 1/4 inch length, later to be shortened to just clear the bottom of the hole in the bolt when fitted. As mentioned before, this small pin does all the turning and by making it as long as possible we can gain maximum engagement between the coupler and the bolt for strength

Picture #2--The 3/8 inch diameter chamfer is turned all around the face of the coupler, once the slotted end of the coupler is squared up this chamfer provides clearance for the angled coupler to mate up tight to the rear of the bolt.

Picture #3--The first two sides are squared in the mill to 3/8 inch across the flats.

Picture #4--Once again we have left the extra stock attached to the coupler as a means to hold it. Once all four sides are squared, it will be cut off and the slot milled in, then the coupler screw hole drilled, threaded, and counterbored for the matching screw. It is always important to think ahead and not cut the "handle" off til you have completed the cuts where you need it to hold the part.
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LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03658.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03659.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03662.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03663.jpg  
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Old 11-04-2020, 08:50 PM   #59
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LC Smith Build--New Coupler Installed, Not Fitted, New Trip Started

Hello All
Still whittling away at the internals this week, pushing forward to get to the point of starting some stock work! We have left to do--TIG up the rear tang and tap it, TIG up the top lever, top surface, and dress it out. Fit the new coupler to the new bolt, finish and fit the new trip to the new bolt. Make the stainless steel pillow blocks for the front and rear tang screws. Fit the top lever spring and get the rotary bolt assembly working together. Slot the try barrels rib extension to clear the bolt. Make up the wooden pitch/drop at comp/drop at heel/ length of pull gauge and get it clamped to the try barrels. Then the stock work can begin.

Here in Picture #1 is the new coupler, with the original top lever, the coupler and it's hardware screw.
Picture #2--the new coupler attached to the top lever, still will need fitted for engagement length in the back of the rotary bolt.
Picture #3--the new trip, the major diameter of .206 turned to size, and the "handle" turned to 1/2 inch. Next finish polished, and then cut off along with the extra stock for clamping purposes.

Picture #4 and #5--two views of the trip, showing the flat milled in to clear the front of the bolt, and the angle cut that matches the slot in the rotary bolt.

Ready to order the grip cap and the butt plate we will need them pretty soon. Good reproductions are available for both. Alas, this shotgun is too late for the fancy LC Smith butt plate with the dog, I will have to settle for the correct serrated composite model, and the plain black pistol grip cap. The beauty will have to be captured in the simple lines.
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Last edited by 4575wcf; 11-04-2020 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 11-06-2020, 06:21 AM   #60
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LC Smith Build--New Trip Two Cuts Completed

Hey All

Morning last we got the flat milled on the front of the new trip. Very much easy does it on these tiny parts.

Picture #1--A 5/16 four flute end mill was utilized at the correct rpm to minimize the tendency for the part to move under load. Cuts of .010 at a time, we eased the material off and got a nice square and flat surface.

Picture #2--The flat matches the original part, .103 across, exactly half the diameter of the .206 diameter bolt, and .240 wide from the end.

Picture #3--The original rotary bolt with trip in place

Picture #4--The new rotary bolt with unfinished new trip in place

Picture #5--Shows how the front clearance we milled into the rotary bolt serves to provide clearance for the flat on the trip shank as the bolt rotates
through its 90 degrees of travel.
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LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03671.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03675.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03674.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03673.jpg   LC Smith Project Gun Starting From Scratch-dsc03672.jpg  

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