Stopping Rifle: Build 3

Imperial Era, Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle, Weapons, WWI

The forestock fitted in place is a little bit longer than the original but is fastened in the same way.

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This definitely improves the overall shape of the rifle.

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With the woodwork shaped and the buttplate fitted I applied a few layers of finish, leaving it to dry.

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In the metalwork department, I stripped the original paintwork from it. Underneath is aluminium of some kind, though some parts are an odd coppery colour.

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I applied Birchwood and Casey’s aluminium black. A couple of coats later and I have a nice dappled finish across the surface.

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The buttplate, being steel, is brushed smooth (though with a swirling pattern of sorts left on for some semblance of grip) and heated to a dull red before being quenched in oil. This leaves a rather pleasing mixed-colour finish varying from straw to light blue.

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The screws are blacked to fit in.

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The last bit is to mark up the rifle appropriately. On the bottom plate I’m marking the gun with my details and the ‘calibre’. Though it’s not technically .700 NE, the shells are actually very close.

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The first step is a quick going over of the script to give a shallow etch to follow. One can then lift the paper to check the etch is deep enough in a few places before removing the whole lot.

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With the paper removed, I add depth and boldness to the capitals and detailing in the few places I have the skill to add it.

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Once all the text is to depth, I used Birchwood Casey’s aluminium black as per the rest of the gun. In the picture below you can see where the back of the foregrip assembly had an argument with my planer, which was a sad event. That being said, I hope to make a replacement in the near future.

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I’m pretty pleased with how the script came out. This is only my second attempt at engraving work and I feel it is quite an improvement over the first. I’m not 100% happy with the calibre, but the script typeface isn’t too bad.

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This is basically finished now, so photographs of the complete item to follow!

 

If you are interested in this project you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

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Stopping Rifle: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Imperial Era, Products, Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle, Weapons, WWI

At long last, the Stopping Rifle is done. So anyone planning on bringing an elephant or tiger to a site near me had better watch out!

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This break action is very satisfying to carry broken over the arm and practice your swift mountings in the bedroom mirror.

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The buttplate, lightly oil finished. I’m yet to take a picture that does this justice, but that gorgeous selection of colours fading from one to another is very satisfying.

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The straight-wrist stock is a classic English side-by-side design. I’ll probably make other styles of stock in future versions.

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The shells are roughly based on .700 Nitro-Express. These are quite nice for extraction and pocketing, a nice handful in every pair.

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The Express sights deserve comment. Given the nature of express cartridges, heavy and slow, they have a somewhat rainbow trajectory. This style of sight allows the shooter to quickly select their range and fire without having to finely adjust a wheel or tangent.

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At the front, I’ve taken a leaf out of the French book of rifle design, a chunky front post (already there) for fast shooting and a finer notch in the middle for more precise shots, just in case I ever want to make them!

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Broken open, the shells look pretty good! APS cartridges are the heart of this system, though I may make some custom shells in the future.

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Finally, the etching. I felt that this was the sort of detail that really needed doing. At some point, I’d like to come back to this and redo it with more extravagant etchings, some scrollwork or an elephant or something. Maybe when I’ve had a bit more practice…

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If you are interested in this project you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

Stopping Rifle: Build 2

Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle

At the end of the last post, we were taking a look at the woodwork. Since then I’ve had to take some time out from the workshop but work has not halted!

The rear sight parts have arrived and need some rubbing down and smoothing off before painting up.

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Back in the workshop, the APS shells have finally arrived and been modified to fit the cartridges. This also gives me an opportunity to do a test fire with most satisfying results!

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This was also something of a preview of the finished item. In this shorter format it will make for quite a nice coach gun for suitable games.

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Out came the gouge to finish the front of the comb. I went for a very steep scoop on both sides.

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The depth of it means that I have a nice reference point at the front of the comb.

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The rear sight fitted in place, using the screw thread already built into the gun for the front securing screw and a second one drilled and tapped for the rear screw.

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I may have to fill the screw heads, which being Phillips are a bit unsightly.

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Each of the leaves folds down and back up nicely, though the front is a little floppy at present. I’ll add some material to increase friction before finishing.

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Using the dremmel I etched out an ‘S’ on the tang. When the safety is on, the ‘S’ is visible, when the gun is hot it is covered. Without a positive visual identifier of condition I found this safety design was difficult to check without moving it.

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It’s now really starting to take shape.

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I need to make a new forestock and buttplate, but these are all finishing touches compared to the rest of the work.

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If you are interested in this project you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

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Stopping Rifle: Build 1

Custom builds, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle, Weapons

The Stopping Rifle is being built from a Hwasan double barrelled shotgun. The guns themselves are alright, however their standard shells are pretty awful. As a result…

The first step in the stopping rifle build is making usable shells for it. I’m wanting to keep the chunky feel of the standard shells, but with the reliability of something better. Many Hwasan users convert their shotguns to take APS shot shells, I’ll be doing something along those lines by making special shells in the style of .700 Nitro-Express.

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These are 3D printed, painted up and, though I say so myself, look great. This is one type next to an airsoft Webley shell for scale.

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This will have a barrel in it to increase velocity of the 1-2 BBs it will take for a bit more range over a standard shot shell. I’ll make some shot shells for close up work as well.

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On top, I’ll fit these distinctive Express sights. These were designed to allow the shooter to shoot quickly in an emergency as well as fairly precisely when more time was had.

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On the original rifle each leaf was for a fixed range, typically between 50-500 yards depending on the calibre.

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These could be folded down quickly to change the range easily.

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When lined up, the vertical white line helps with foresight acquisition.

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In the real world, I cut out my walnut buttstock.

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Cutting and fitting it to the action was a very involved process.

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To get to this stage took about two hours of solid work. The receiver cutout for this is incredibly complicated, with lots of nooks and crannies.

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Another hour and a half or so later, the action is pretty much fitted.
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The metalwork is recessed quite deep into the wood at this stage, which can be cut back to fit closely. This excess makes it harder initially to fit the metalwork, but it does mean that there won’t be a big shelf between the metal and the wood.

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As you can see, there’s a tiny gap between the stock and action, which I will fill with an oil finished steel fillet which should make a nice contrasting join.

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Next I use the electric planer to take the thickness down to meet the action and add some very rough curves.

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Before achieving the rough shape with the hand plane, drawknife and palm plane.

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If you are interested in this project you can see the introduction here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

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Stopping Rifle: Introduction

History, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Sporting Arms, Stopping Rifle, Weapons

The Stopping Rifle is an oddity today, a hang-over from the Golden Days of trophy hunting in the deepest, darkest parts of Africa and the sub-continent.

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Theodore Roosevelt, prolific trophy hunter. Famed for sparing a bear cub and inventing the ‘Teddy’ bear. This elephant was not so fortunate.

The stopping rifle is still part of the (now much rarer) expedition through dangerous game country. When dealing with large and dangerous animals such as the hippopotamus, lions, elephants and tigers, you need a gun that is capable of not only killing the animal quickly, but dropping it on the spot mid-charge.

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While many conventional rifles may be capable of killing an animal at range, if an animal is close enough to your party to make a charge such projectiles can go clean through even a critical area, with the animal not realising it is dead until it has mauled you.

 

As a result stopping rifles fire heavy, slow bullets. A typical 7.62 NATO bullet is 10-11g, a .450 Nitro Express bullet on the other hand is closer to 32g. .700 Nitro Express at 65g is another level entirely.

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.500 NE compared with some more common rounds. Bigger than this you really only have heavy military use rounds and oddball cartridges like the .950 JDJ.

So, why two barrels? Well, given the need for a quick follow-up shot has been around since before the invention of the modern cartridge a second barrel was the only option. However this design classic has survived through not only the bolt-action era but even beyond semi-automatics.

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A taxidermy exhibit at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Yorkshire, Great Britain. The hunter appears to be using a double percussion gun while his guide reloads the first one.

Firstly, you can switch between triggers very quickly, far faster than operating a bolt. Although modern semi-autos could handle the pressure of these large cartridges, they are far more prone to being affected by the dirt and dust which on long expeditions is a fact of life: especially for a gun that has to be carried ready to fire at all times under severe pressure.

Express sights feature a huge V-notch, with several separate leaves for different fixed ranges. This unusual BSA design also has an adjustable leaf. This design allows for some precision use at close range when there is time, but also allows the shooter to use the foresight as a bead in emergencies.

 

So this hold-over from the Victorians still has its uses and these rifles are still some of the most beautiful examples of private and custom gunsmithing around.

I will be building my own stopping rifle for airsoft use of course, for a safari-type load out, probably paired with the Webley MkVI.

 

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.