Wednesday, January 27, 2010

But, they told us you needed first-rate machine tools and a big shop and special knowledge

to make guns!
Our driver stopped at a security point just outside the town center, where we were introduced to the Frontier Agency militia, six angry-dad-looking guys with AKs and sidearms. They became our personal bodyguards, and followed us through the tight warren of gun shops and factories, barren little brick rooms where upward of 1,000 guns are manufactured every day. Most of the work is done by hand.

Few years back PBS had a full hour show on the area, with lots of video. These people were making everything from AKs to Enfields to Dash-K heavy machineguns, mostly in workshops you could fit in an average garage.

Friend of mine is an Enfield nut and he's seen #1MkIII Enfields that came from the region that, without very careful looking, could not be told from something out of an English armory; they'd even duplicated the proof stamps.

Found by Uncle


Windy Wilson said...

In some cases, they don't even need a garage full of tools. There is the craftsman with a file, referred to by my late friend as a "Mexican milling machine", although any industrious and skilled craftsman of any other ethnicity could be substituted.

If they think Crystal Meth is easy to make from all sorts of precursor chemicals, all you need to make a firearm is some appropriate steel, some files, measuring devices, and some heat to heat treat the steel.

Hell, Carbine Williams even made some parts WHILE he was in prison, under the supposedly watchful eyes of the guards!

Keith said...

Saw that vid a few months ago, what they showed appeared to be just re-finishing of NORINCO manufactured parts.

There are supposed to be guys there with all of the skills to make and duplicate guns pretty much from scratch, but there are also supposed to be pretty well equipped machine shops there too.

The report would have been much more interesting with someone who actually knew shit about guns presenting, or if he had at least read some of the old smithing books.

Windy put it better than I can, that with some basic skills, there is a lot that can be done with a file, a hacksaw and a hand drill.

From what I've read about Luty's work, those tools wouldn't even get much work to do.

Back in the 18th century, those guys who drilled barrels from solid (rather than forging the barrel over a mandrel, from forge welded strip, wound in a spiral)would often be using a wooden bed lathe, perhaps driven by water power - perhaps just by a pole and treddle, and feeding a D bit drill through a hollow centre, drilling a few thou and pulling the drill out to clear the chips.

Reaming was by spill boring, where the reamer was a square section length of tool steel, with a wooden pad wired to one side of it, that was adjusted by packing with bits of oily paper, and lubricated with peanut oil. Skilled guys could ream to within a tenth of a thou on diameter.

I've read that Pope Barrels were produced on a couple of beat up old lathes!

Anonymous said...

I grew up poor, with a burning desire to have fun things that my more well off friends had. That meant making many of them myself by hand. My Dad, God bless him, fostered this desire by buying me real, honest to God tools when I was a kid, not the horse crap tool shaped garbage sold as kid's tools. I'm not a machinist by any stretch, but I can and have made some pretty good gun parts out of scrap steel and old parts such as leaf and coil springs, and axles. A lot of it is simple patience and some is the easy availability of books. Alexander Weygers' books on blacksmithing and tools are worth their weight in gold. I have a library of books on machining and hand fabrication and by far the most valuable are Weygers' three books, since published as one and Machinery's Handbook. Those, a good hacksaw and a selection of good blades with some good files, hammers, an index filled with high quality drill bits and an inexpensive small drill press will equip an intelligent man or boy to make nearly anything he desires. In the eighth grade I had a metal shop teacher who stated it was impossible for someone to make a handgun by himself. During the course of that semester I made a functioning .22 LR cal. fully automatic machine pistol including the 20 round magazine by hand. It was crude, but worked. He took one look, and gave me an A. He also gave my gun back. I pointed out I was only a few months away from having another one anyway.

A full auto is easier to do than a single shot. Mine was not particularly accurate, but would hit a 5 gal. bucket reliably out to about 50 yds. I don't know what happened to it, I lost it many years ago. If I did it again, I'd likely go for 9mm Parabellum as magazines and barrels are available in quantity for pocket change. I wouldn't even try to make a single shot, it's less work to make a machine pistol.

Gerry N.