Precision Barrel Fitting, Part Three

Why squaring the receiver face is mandatory before joining it to a barrel.

by Chick Blood

Suppose you weren’t working on a barrel fitting job. Suppose you were making a wooden picture frame. If any one of your four frame sides isn’t squared and true on its ends there will be gaps instead of tight joints where the frame angles meet. In such a situation, these gaps can be filled and blended smooth before the frame is painted. The last time I looked, I found no rifle barrels or receivers made of wood so we won’t be able to cover such mistakes as easily.

The first guns were made prior to metallurgy being advanced enough to cast tubes. Cannon barrels then were slat constructed similar to casks and kegs. The result was then heavily banded with metal. These bands were applied primarily at the breech but I have seen etchings of them spaced out along the tube during one of my visits to the Tower of London. Sometimes the banding worked. Sometimes it didn’t. When it didn’t, it wasn’t enemy arrows that knocked down defenders. It was splinters.

Read more in our June 2014 issue. Back issues are available.

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