cap already described. The cap, being of thin sheet steel, should have the space between its inner surface and the added piece filled up solid with brazing spelter. Then drill the screw hole to required size, and make and fit the screw. Since it is impractical to cement a metal cap to wood, a piece of brass tubing about an inch long and 1/2 inch inside diameter is then brazed to under side of cap; the upper end of tube is closed with a piece of brass brazed on, and in the center is drilled a hole for a short wood screw, which holds the cap in place. A well of this type can also be fitted to a solid cap of iron, steel, bronze or other metal.
Figure 156 shows clearly the method of working out the two methods just described. Very good steel grip caps with a trap door held open or closed by a jack-knife spring, similar to buttplate traps,
can be purchased from one or two English firms handling gunsmith-ing supplies. The screw trap as described, however, answers every purpose, is neat in appearance, and comparatively easy to make.
BUTTPLATES. About the most difficult problem the amateur designer has to face is that of securing a suitable buttplate. Formerly very little thought was given to the hinders of a gun's anatomy, almost any old piece of iron that would prevent the wood from splintering being considered satisfactory. The deeply curved crescent shaped plate was very satisfactory on the old lever actions having only moderate recoil, the shape of the plate keeping the butt to the shoulder-while the lever was worked. But with the coming of bolt actions the horns of such a plate were not needed to keep the butt from slipping down, and the increased recoil of modern loads necessitated a type of plate that would distribute the blow over the largest possible area of shoulder, and with no sharp projections to stab and gouge.
The shotgun type of buttplate was found to be the best of all for use on the new day rifle. Its larger size—usually 5 inches or longer, and at least 1 5/8 inches in width, and its nearly straight shape and rounded edges made it the most comfortable as well as the most efficient. Unfortunately, these plates are usually made of the poorest kind of hard rubber, or else of horn, which is somewhat moTe durable, and good steel plates, which are the only kind suitable
for the rough use that a rifle usually is given, are hard to find. Winchester makes a very good steel shotgun buttplate tor about 60 cents. It is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch narrower than called for by the best rifle design, and an extra 1/4 inch in length would not hurt it any. Belding & Mull make a special buttplate which was designed for the B. 6c M. Model 30 Remington sporter, which more nearly approaches ideal lines. Neither of these plates has a trap for cleaning materials or what not, and recent custom has brought us to the point of demanding such a trap on the better grade rifles.
Sometimes one can remodel a military buttplate very satisfactorily. The Springfield plate is really too short; a Krag plate, which can be bought from Banncrman for a quarter, works up much better.
It has a small round trap, not as desirable as the long oval traps on the expensive imported plates, but far better than none. A man should have acquired reasonable skill at forge and anvil to do a first class job of reshaping this plate. First remove the trap, trap spring and screw. Then heat the toe and straighten out the forward bend. Heat entire plate and curve it very slightly from heel to toe. Heat it again and round the plate slightly from side to side over the horn of the anvil, taking care to preserve the heel to toe curve while doing this. Next heat the trap, and bend it slightly from side to side, and refit it into its hole. This requires very careful work, and it will very likely be necessary to do some filing, due to the hole having been misshapen by the bending of the plate. Work it down carefully until the trap fits close all around the edge, and is snugly seated against the beveled edge of the hole. Now assemble the trap and plate, and file down their surfaces smoothly; round edges of plate and grind or file outer edges to exact shape desired. The long round-end lip at heel can be cut off, leaving only about 1/4 or 3/8 inch projecting, and this ground to a point. The square edge at heel should also be well rounded, and a screw hole drilled and countersunk near the heel, the original hole in lip having been removed. The plate and trap should then be polished, and the surface either file-checked or sharply stippled, as described in Chapter 19.
It's easy to say "file-checked"—doing the job is another matter. I have never found any dependable method for spacing file cut» accurately enough to call it checking; if one has plenty of time and patience, a good 6harp 3 square file can be used to turn out a fine job, simply gauging the spacing of the lines by eye; but it is a slow process, and really amounts to engraving. with a file. Knurling is usually out of the question without a very costly set-up of special fixtures, so the stippling method, using either a dental engine or a prick punch and hammer, offers the readiest solution.
It is possible to take the B. & M., the Winchester, or any similar steel plate and make and fit a trap in it as desired. The round trap is of course easiest to fit, and may be taken from a Krag or Spring-
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