Dude with machine shop

Thunderskunk

Private
Minuteman
Sep 16, 2020
52
18
Hello!

I’m a dude with a machine shop. I’ve been in the army national guard for eight years. When I went to basic, my first qual was a 17/40, and I finagled 23/40 after several tries. After OCS, I started practicing for CMP GSMM where consistency and fundamentals finally sank in. My next qual was a 40/40.

The engineers are not known for their marksmanship, so I thought it was a hot stuff qualifying expert. I very recently participated in my state TAG match and found out how insignificant 40/40 is. We did a record qual on paper targets, and even though I hit 37 targets, my score was 150/200. The Soldier I scored, someone I served with on COVID response, achieved 195/200, and he thought he wasn’t all that good.

I’m always fascinated by how much I just don’t know about a subject; marksmanship is near and dear. I found snipers hide when looking for actual resources to tackle the surplus of useless opinions which must be vetted to become smarter. In my library, I have “Hatcher’s notebook,” both volumes of “The Bolt Action,” a few oddball gunsmithing books, and a few thousand dollars worth of tool and die books. Metrology goes hand in hand with marksmanship to the point that I can find specific examples of rifle components which if they had been toleranced correctly would have made a better shot.

My goal here is to learn more about marksmanship. I don’t have much to prove to myself, but I want to be teaching the right thing and have good source material for the occasional “good question.” On the shop side of things, I’m not an FFL, but making non FFL firearms parts is an occasional demand. The more I know about marksmanship as a whole, the better such products will be.

Anyways, I don’t actually own a lot of guns. I trade each time; always up and leaving a lot of empty space in an already small cabinet. I did own a sporterized M1903, but traded it for an AR which I eventually fitted into a National Match grade gun.
 
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Thunderskunk

Private
Minuteman
Sep 16, 2020
52
18
Soldiers. Our marksmanship program isn’t all inclusive. Everyone is required to qualify twice a year. It’s the responsibility of unit leaders to teach marksmanship. Unfortunately that means we only have time to work with the squeaky wheels; Soldiers who got through basic with a 23/40 and don’t get much needed practice between quals.

I hope I didn’t offend you, but yea, I teach Soldiers. I’m not a school instructor, but there’s quite a bit of mentorship involved. Most of the time it’s not even me talking, just setting up time with the right resources.
 

Josh1978

1 Mile
PX Member
Minuteman
May 19, 2020
377
354
41
KS
Welcome and again, thank you for your service. Lots of good information here.
 

A&8's

Gunny Sergeant
PX Member
Minuteman
Mar 20, 2019
618
394
I hope I didn’t offend you, but yea, I teach Soldiers. I’m not a school instructor, but there’s quite a bit of mentorship involved. Most of the time it’s not even me talking, just setting up time with the right resources.
Not offended at all, just wondering.
 
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CarCrusher

Private
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2018
5
1
Welcome.
You'll like it here. I'm new at this site too, but I'm getting the best "NO-B/S" info and options I can find so far.
I don't have CNC machines, but I do have a 2-DRO 13" lathe, an old SouthBend 10, a nice JET drill press and a 4-DRO vertical mill. AND I have a Panograph so I can engrave. I also weld pretty good.
I've discovered a LOT of cut-corners in some my (and my buddies) firearms that I wouldn't really know were there without a machinist knowledge. I don't consider myself a machinist, just bought the machines and learned on YouTube. But I measure twice/cut once.
I have upgrade projects going on all the time with my stash of weapons and ammunition. VERY time consuming.
I've also discovered a love/hate relationship with titanium. Who would have known?
 

Thunderskunk

Private
Minuteman
Sep 16, 2020
52
18
...I've also discovered a love/hate relationship with titanium. Who would have known?
My least favorite thing to work with is inconel. I worked as an engineer for an EDM machine shop, but my charge was the milling section. It was obnoxious. Eats tools like nothing else I’ve had to deal with. I did a few titanium parts, but that particular material was soft. Slow machining, but if you got it right, the tools lasted for quite some time.

I own a Fanuc Robodrill with a 5-axis table. My personal lathe is a 10” Sheldon from the 1910s; it’s old enough that there’s no records of it. I work full time on multi spindle Swiss lathes. If I ever get into stuff like barrel threading, I’ll be investing in a CNC lathe.

And I tumor weld. Pile it on until it stops moving, then add some more. Another neglected skill set I should probably devote more attention too.
 

CarCrusher

Private
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2018
5
1
It's all a "time at it" thing. I figured, hey if that guy can do it..............all I need is the machine.
I've gotten good (better) at threading barrels. Also, reading them for straightness.
The lathe won't lie. I'm constantly amazed how many crooked barrel threads there are.
My inside and outside threads match up (mostly). Thank God for adjustable dies.
Next step on the ladder, chambering.
Inconel lost me at the "heat-treat for 24 hrs" part. I'm happy with 17-4.
I can H-900 all day long.
Welding has a lot to do with the quality of the machine and the setup. I TIG a lot.
The older I get, the less I enjoy it.

You sound well educated (you write well). Mentor all you can, those guys will remember what you teach them the rest of their lives.
It's not what you take, it's what you leave behind.
 

Thunderskunk

Private
Minuteman
Sep 16, 2020
52
18
You sound well educated (you write well).
Nah, I was one of those “D for diploma” kind of guys. OCS really tore into us about proof reading everything, and I haven’t quite shaken it yet.

I wish I could blame the machine as the reason why I don’t make good TIG welds, but my pops is able to do great work with my equipment. Most of my welding is for broken farm equipment and fixture repair for my own purposes, so I’m on par with what I need for now.