There may come a time when government restrictions severely limit not only access to firearms but the tools and means to repair and maintain them, or you may someday find yourself in the boondocks with a busted weapon.
That’s where the guerrilla gunsmith comes in.
Ragnar Benson has had experience as a guerrilla gunsmith repairing “junk” guns in some tough places around the world, and here he shares some innovative ways to patch up, cobble together and otherwise make operational everything from antique rifles still found in remote war zones to modern firearms suffering from appalling abuse.
Drawing on lessons and stories from backwoods experts he’s worked with under desperate conditions in Africa, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and beyond, Ragnar tells how to employ last-resort but effective techniques to remove hopelessly stuck rounds and other barrel obstructions, straighten bent barrels, replace lost parts, smooth out dented magazines, make repairs to some pretty hopeless stocks, scrounge up workable ammo and more.
These are last-ditch, do-it-yourself methods, but they may be all you’ll have to fall back on deep in the bush or with your back to the wall, when the only things between you and the enemy are a rifle and the know-how to make it work.
Home Workshop Guns for Defense & Resistance Volume II is a clear and simple guide to building a semi- or full-auto pistol or a single-shot, falling-block handgun from common materials in the privacy of your home workshop.
In addition to offering many alternative workshop gunsmithing tips, the author explains how each part and section of the gun is made and discusses thoroughly the subjects of heat-treatment and bluing.
As long as you don’t make anything fully automatic or bigger than .50 caliber (and stay within all the other insane regulations) of the BATFE making your own guns are legal.
I enjoy thumbing through Home Workshop Guns for Defense & Resistance – between it an Luty’s book on expedient homemade firearms I know that no matter what happens the citizenry of America will always have guns.
I find that books like these (and the publishers willing to print books like these) are becoming more and more rare as our society changes. It is my desire that every prepper household buys books like this to ensure that the information is always present in out society. Ben Franklin would have wanted this also.
There are several ways and opinions about how to remove cosmoline, and many curses heaped on the head of this product over the years.
Cosmoline is not evil, if it was not for its preservative effects, we would not be able to enjoy shooting old military surplus guns as they would not have survived over the years.
You Need to Understand Cosmoline
Before learning how to remove Cosmoline, you first need to understand that it is chemically similar to Vaseline, and is applied by dipping guns into a vat of molten Cosmoline. This means that the preservative is not just gunked up on the gun, but is embedded in every nook and cranny in the gun. If you are going to remove cosmoline from a gun, you will have to disassemble and detail clean it.
Some like to use chemicals to clean out the petroleum based Cosmoline. I have read accounts of people using gasoline a 55 gallon drums. I think that this is overly dangerous and under-effective. Mineral oil and brake cleaner work just as well.
Hot Water Method
I personally use hot water for the metal, and sun and gently heat for the wood. Some do not like the idea of using water, but in my experience using heat alone runs the risk of cooking out the oil and leaving the dark tar-like crud. Water seems to both heat the oil and help float it away.
The way I do it is to strip off all the wood, and disassemble the gun to is smallest user level parts. I don’t do an armorer level disassemble, but just a detailed field strip. I then put all the small parts in a stainless pot that the wife won’t kill me for ruining (I actually have my own kitchen set by now), and boil them clean.
The Cosmoline will float to the top as it melts. When I take the hot metal out of the water, and quickly clean it with bore solvent, it dries rather quickly and I oil it well so it does not rust. The longer parts like the barrel, takes more work.
I boil them in a large stock pot, and repeatedly pour hot water down the barrel to loosen up the Cosmoline. A rod will need to be pushed down the barrel as it will be plugged with the Cosmoline.
Attention to Detail Helps
Take special care on the action, as with guns such as the Mosin Nagant, In the video I show a Mosin, but this is not a how to remove cosmoline from Mosin Nagant article.
Cosmoline is notorious for being hard to remove. It may cycle fine, but after a shot or two, the Cosmoline will become tacky and the bolt will be hard to cycle. Additionally, If you fire the gun a lot with the Cosmoline on the action, it will bake on and make a small problem a huge nightmare.
I take care with the stock, and do not introduce boiling water as that will damage the old wood. What I do is to gently heat it up in the sun on a hot day (or VERY gently heat with a hairdryer) and wipe the Cosmoline off with a towel. With repeated heatings and wipe downs you can remove the Cosmoline without damaging the wood. If you go to fast or too aggressive you can strip out the moisture and mess up the stock. I also use murphy’s oil soap to help remove the oily Cosmoline from the wood.
I know this is not an easy process, its messy, and will most likely cause a little bit of marital stress, but look at it as a rite of passage, and a way to help preserve history. Heck, if you get a C&R license, you may even consider buying a curio gun and leave it in its Cosmoline wrapping to allow your kids and grand kids this pleasure.
I do not believe in modifying carry guns outside of factory specifications. A small part of this is because of liability, but mostly it is because of the unknown consequences to reliability.
A firearm is a machine, and the weight of the parts of the gun are factored in with drag, inertia, spring weight, type of ammunition, and hundreds of other factors to create a gun that functions with the desired ratio or accuracy and reliability.
Every part has to work together and when you replace a part you are piddling with the whole. Tiny tolerances add up – and when you replace many parts you may end up with an unreliable gun. Since the most important factor in choosing a defensive handgun is reliability I don’t risk compounding tolerances.
The Smooth Trigger Was What Glock Designed
However, the modification in todays post is actually bringing the gun back to manufacturer’s specifications. When Gaston Glock created his pistol he built it with a smooth faced trigger, but due to some unfathomable reason the ATF has import points and for a gun to able to be imported it has to have enough points. The ATF considers a smooth trigger to be a combat trigger, and a ridged trigger to be a target trigger.
A full sized Glock has enough points to be imported with the original trigger, but the compact and sub-compact guns were one point short. Therefore Glock has to make a target trigger to meet the red tape.
Luckily, many (if not most) of Glock parts are interchangeable, and if you want a smooth trigger for your compact or sub compact all you need to do (in most cases) is to order the trigger from the full size gun in your caliber.
I have a Glock 19, so to get a smooth trigger I just ordered the Glock 17 trigger and swapped them. It only cost me a few dollars and a couple minutes to change the feel of my trigger pull.
Now this does nothing to change the weight, take up, or break of the action.
If only changes the feel of the trigger on your finger. However if you are going to a high round count school where you will spend 8 hours a day on the range shooting hundreds or thousands of rounds you will feel a difference, and you will be thankful you made the switch. Other than that it is really a personal preference thing and just something nice to know.
The specifics of how to do this can be found here.
This post is about why I had to do some work on my Walther P22 Recoil Spring. It also shows how to replace the recoil spring in a Walther P22
I am a huge believer in repetition for any physical skill. If you want to be good at something you have to put in the time practicing perfectly. I have heard that to be a master of something you need to spend at least 10,000 hours practicing the skill. Dry firing can be a big part of that time block, but you will HAVE to get out to the range.
I haven’t won the lottery, or invented the next widget so spending 10,000 hours of range time is cost prohibitive shooting centerfire ammunition, but I since still have to practice I decided to try a .22 rimfire.
After hearing a lot of good things about the Walther I bought myself a P22. I was told that it needed a long break in period using premium ammunition and repeated cleanings in order for it to function properly. However, even after firing 500 premium rounds through the gun, I was still having malfunctions with the gun.
A weak grip is notorious for causing malfunctions, so I spent time looking into that.
Not the problem.
Early model P22s had a magazine problem. The newer (marked with a “b”) magazines have a 1inch slit cut into them for the rimmed cases to stack. This is also not the problem
Several internet forums state that bulk green box federal rounds are not powerful enough to cycle the gun…
In my search for cheap shooting those 550 round Wal-Mart boxes of ammo is pretty much all I shoot in my .22lr caliber firearms.
Now, that doesn’t help me much – higher velocity .22 ammo is getting expensive – I want to shoot as cheaply as possible so I kept searching for a solution. A gunsmith friend of mine told me that they changed out the recoil spring in later designs of the Walther P22. The new recoil spring is lighter.
I had also read on the interwebz that “cutting a couple turns off the spring” helped – Now I am not willing to butcher my gun by cutting springs – but I am willing to try a new factory spring. I called Walther customer service, explained my problem, and asked if I could purchase a spring. They were very helpful and sent me a new spring at no charge.
The one I received was a bit longer than the original, but it had a lot more “give”. I replaced the Walther P22 Recoil Spring and as the video shows I was able to rapidly fire the firearm without any malfunctions. I don’t have enough rounds through the gun with the new spring to say the problem is fixed, but I am quite pleased with Walther working with me fix the problem.
As a value added tip for following along this far I am going to tell you an easier way to reassembly the slide back on the frame without using the little tool they send you:
How to Replace the Recoil Spring in a Walther P22
Put the recoil guide rod in your palm(non-dominant hand), and insert the spring over it.
Compress the spring, once compressed use your thumb and forefinger to grasp the recoil spring and rod. Several inches of rod should extend past your fingertips.
With your dominant hand pick up the slide and push the guide rod through the hole in the slide.
Grasp the end of the rod with your dominant hand. Once you have a firm grasp (otherwise you will shoot the rod across the room), let go with your non-dominant hand.
The Compressed spring should be inside the slide, with your hand holding on to the majority of the guide rod sticking outside the muzzle end of the slide.
Guide the slide onto the frame, with the barrel inserted into the slide and slightly extended outside of the slide.
Slowly, and carefully release tension on the guide rod so that it retreats back into the slide. Once the guide rod is touching the frame wiggle it until it slides into the detent inside the frame.
Let go of the guide rod
Rack the slide
Press the slide down over the ears in the frame
Ride the slide forward
Push the locking bar back up
Function check the pistol
It takes some practice to do it this way, but it is a much simpler way of doing things.