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Turn in this screw, then center and drill the hole for the toe-screw, and set it. Ordinarily countersunk head wood screws are usually better than the regular coarse buttplate screws. The thread holds well, but being somewhat smaller, the screws can be set so that their slots stand vertically, and in line with each other. Little things, such as keeping screw slots in line, make a big difference in the appearance of a gun, and often indicate the experience of the maker.

The screw heads, being larger and deeper than the countersink in the plate, will stick out from the surface. First loosen them three or four turns, then deepen the slot with a slotting file or hacksaw blade. Tighten them again, to be sure the slot comes well below the countersink. Then file the heads down smooth and flush with surface of plate. This makes the screws nearly invisible, only the slots showing. Later, when finishing the gun the place and screw heads will he polished down with emery cloth, the screws carefully removed, and all parts blued.

The D. C. M. Sporter buttplate is the easiest of any to attach. Merely saw the stock on a straight line, smooth up the end with a file until edges of plate touch all around, and turn in the screws.

After fitting the plate, and before dressing down the screw head», | test the butt for PITCH. The most accurate way of doing this is to rivet or braze 3n extension to the long blade of a steel square, like Figure 88. which also shows this device in use. The short blade of square is held against heel and toe of butt plate, with inner edge of long blade in line with middle of rear sight aperture. The distance from end of long blade to tip of front sight indicates the pitch of butt. (See discussion of pitch in Chapter 9).

If the pitch is too great, remove the buttplate and dress off a bit of the heel of butt, setting that end of plate a trifle deeper until the required pitch is obtained. If more pitch is desired, shorten the toe. The distance from center of trigger to center of buttplate should be carefully measured while the plate is being fitted.

RECESSING THE BUTT STOCK. Sometimes it is desired to hollow out the butt, either to lighten it and balance the rifle, or to provide a compartment for cleaning materials, if a trap buttplate is used. The recessing should be done after the stock is all shaped up, ready to sand. Hold the srock in vise, with jaws well padded, butt vertical. Mark the outline of recess in buttplate. and mark centers for two or three holes, as preferred. The Mannlicher-Schoennauer plate will permit two 7/8 inch holes, and one 5/8 inch. Use a sharo augur bit with single cutter lip. Center the spur carefully, and have someone stand to one side and tell you whether to raise or lower end of brace to keep the hole at the correct angle. Watch the bit as you never watched anything before, and call on your favorite household gods to keep it in the center of stock. I never yet had one run out the side, but never have I bored out a butt without serious misgiving that this very thing would happen.

After boring the holes rhe edges should be beveled off with a knife. The wood between the holes may be removed with the "scraper gouge*' described in Chaoter 4, or may be left solid between the holes—the usual practice. This makes a stronger stock than if it is reduced to a mere shell, and holds more than you will want to put into it, most likely. Nothing throws a rifle out of balance so badly as a jointed steel rod and a lot of tips in the butt; I usually carry my rod in pocket or pack, with only a pull-through, a few patches, and small oil can in stock.

FITTING RECOIL PAD. The fitting of a rubber recoil pad to a new stock just being made is quite easy. First of all the butt should be sawed off on a straight line and trued up with a wood file, and the center line replaced. Now carefully work the butt down to very nearly its final shape and size, allowing not more than 1/32 inch for ¡finishing. Set the recoil pad in place and with an awl or scriber mark the position of the two screw holes on the center line. Drill the topper hole. Next drop the pad into boiling water for a moment, to soften the base—unless this fs done, turning In the screw may crack the hard rubber base. Set the upper screw in fairly snug, then insert the drill through lower screw hole and drill the hole. Set in this screw, then mark the outline of the butt on the hard rubber base, and remove the pad.

A fast running motor grinder is essential for shaping butt pads. Replace the grinding wheel with a disk of wood seven or eight inches in diameter, and on the side of wheel glue a sheet of garnet or sand paper—about number 1. Use this to dress the pad almost to the lines marked on the base. Now coat the hard rubber base with lampblack and oil, and spot it to perfect contact with the butt, just as you did the buttplate. Be careful not to press it too hard and break the base. The center surface of butt may be hollowed very slightly by scraping with a small steel scraper, to insure tight fit at edges. When the fitting is completed, put the pad in boiling water again to soften it;

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