Scope Mounts For The Fm Vault Lock Rifle

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The FM VAULT LOCK rifle is not well adapted for use with open sights. However, if you wish to use the rifle with open sights we suggest the use of the Williams Guide rear sight and a front sight mounted on a Williams ramp base. To use open sights the stock will require a lower comb line than we have shown in the drawings.

Any target scope can be mounted on the FM VAULT LOCK rifle using appropriate target scope bases to match the contour of the barrel. The target mount bases made for the Model 52D Winchester or Model 40X Remington can be used if the action is fitted with a straight tapered barrel. The spacing and location of these bases should then be dependent on the length of the scope used.

To mount a hunting scope on this rifle a wide variety of mounts can be used. If you are economy minded then use the Weaver top detachable mounts, either the high, medium or low rings, with the two-piece bases. The two-piece bases are those specified for the Ruger No. 3 Carbine and they can be spaced or the underside of the front base filed to fit almost any contoured sporter barrel.

If you prefer all steel mounts then select one made by Buehler, Redfield or Conetrol. Order the bases to fit the Ruger No. 3 and with a minimum of filing the bases can be fitted to almost any barrel. We especially like to use the two-piece blank bases that Buehler makes, grinding a groove in the underside of them to fit the particular barrel contour we happen to be using. With most two-piece mounts we usually space the bases so that the rings are about 3.5" apart, with the rear ring as close to the receiver as the base will allow.


The FM No. 2 VAULT LOCK action is quite ideal on which to build an accurate rifle for competitve target shooting in .22 rimfire or in the popular centerfire cartridges such as the .222, .223 Rem. and 6mm x 47. We made our first one in .22 Long Rifle caliber using a Shilen barrel blank made especially for this purpose. It is listed in Brownell's catalog as barrel No. 9. We turned this blank down to a straight taper 1.150" at the breech and .725" at the muzzle. Our rifle without scope weighs 12 pounds and is 44" in overall length (Figs. 3-K & 3-34).

Fig. 3-29 in the drawings shows the alternate extractor for use when the rifle action is chambered for the .22 rimfire cartridge. Fit the extractor before any chambering is done. After it is fitted, remove metal from its center to bore level, or just enough so that the pilot of the chambering reamer can be inserted into the bore with the extractor in place. Then, with the extractor in place and held firmly against the barrel, cut the chamber by hand.

Fig. 3-19 shows an alternate firing pin design that can be used when the rifle is chambered for the .22 rimfire cartridge. The firing pin hole must be located so that the firing pin tip is in line with the cartridge rim recess. Firing pin tip protrusion for a .22 rimfire must be less than the depth of the rim recess, or .035" to be ideal. The tip can be either round and flat with slightly rounded edges, or flat and shaped like a screwdriver tip.

In making a target rifle in any caliber, we suggest making the tang with a plate large enough to hold four screws instead of two as shown in the exploded view drawing (Fig. 3-1). Fig. 3-34 shows the outline and dimensions of our thumbhole stock. The details of how we shaped the trigger guard spur are shown in Fig. 3-35.

If the barrel is a heavy one and if the forearm is carefully bedded against it, the forearm can be attached directly to the barrel with two screws threaded into anchor blocks and the chances are that the accuracy and zero retention won't be affected to any bothersome extent. However, to avoid possible trouble on this score, we suggest that either a one-piece forearm anchor block be used as shown in Fig. 3-32 or a heavy tang fastener (Fig. 3-40) be used so that the forearm can be entirely free of the barrel. When using the anchor block method, make the block of aluminum or steel at least 5/8" square and 8" long, attaching it to the breech end of the barrel with three or four 8x40 screws in a four inch space at the breech and relieving the front four inches of the block so it does not touch the barrel. Then attach the forearm to it with two 10x32 screws and inletting the forearm channel so it does not contact the barrel at any point, even with the entire weight of the rifle resting on the forearm.

We used the tang or drawbolt method of attaching the forearm to our target rifle. This forearm drawbolt is made like the stock tang with a plate attached to the receiver with four screws. Here the forearm bears only against the front of the receiver and the plate. We used an anchor plate 1" x 1 in size and 3/16" thick and used four 10x32 socket-head screws to anchor it in place. We used a 5" piece of 1/2" drill rod for the tang, silver-soldering it in a hole drilled in the plate. Then we extended the tang with a 1/4" rod to the tip of the forearm, threading its end for the draw nut. We suggest using a glass bedding compound to bed the rear of the forearm against the receiver and over the plate and screw heads for a secure and permanent fit. Fitted in this manner and with the forearm drawn tightly against the receiver, it cannot turn, split or yield. After glass bedding sand out the forearm channel so the forearm is free of the barrel.


Shooters who have seen our several No. 2 VAULT LOCK rifles and who have examined our plans for building this rifle have repeatedly inquired whether or not the action could be made as a takedown, that is, with a barrel that can be easily and quickly removed and replaced and in which the three main working assemblies, the firing/trigger guard mechanism, the breech block and the extractor assembly, can be equally as easily removed and replaced without the use of any tool. Many of these shooters have also asked if the two pins through the receiver to hold the trigger guard and extractor assemblies in place can be hidden. The answer is "Yes", and the drawing (Fig. 3-36) and photos (Figs. 3-37, 3-38 & 3-39) show how we did it.

To make the action quick and easy to disassemble without any tools and to hide the trigger guard housing hinge pin and to do away with the extractor housing retainer pin at the same time, we made the action as follows. As shown in Fig. 3-37, we milled recesses in the inside of the receiver walls to accept and locate the hinge pin where it would have been if the hole for it had been drilled through the receiver. To hold this shorter pin in place a bent pin (see arrow) was silver brazed in the bottom center of the tang plate and its end filed so that with the tang in place the hinge pin is held in place. Then, to be able to remove the trigger guard assembly quickly and easily from the receiver, slots were made in the trigger guard housing instead of holes as shown by the dotted lines TD in Fig. 3-11.

To be able to easily remove the breech block we milled a slot in the bottom of the breech block and fitted it with a small lever (Fig. 3-36) so that with the trigger guard housing assembly removed, this lever can be reached with a finger, pivoted to depress the spring backed breech block stop plunger and the breech block withdrawn from the bottom of the receiver.

To complete the quick disassembly system we did away with the extractor housing retainer pin all together. Then, to hold the extractor housing in place two 1/8" wide and 1/16" deep grooves were milled in each side of the housing (as indicated by the dotted lines in Fig. 3-27) just between the extractor and extractor lever pin holes and matching grooves milled in the inside of the receiver to accept pieces of 1/8" square rod pressed into the extractor housing grooves. The grooves in the receiver were then polished smooth to allow easy passage of the square rods in place in the extractor housing (see arrows in Fig. 3-39). All this allowed the extractor housing assembly with the extractor in place to be slid rearward into the breech block recess and thus removed, of course only after the trigger guard assembly and breech block has been removed. One thing more, a stop of some sort is needed to hold the extractor housing in its proper rearward position. If you plan on fitting the forearm to the action as shown in Fig. 3-40 (you would not want to use this if you wanted to make the barrel a takedown) then this plate would serve as the stop. On our action we merely fitted a pin in the bottom of the receiver ring, made it a drive fit in its hole, and then milled a matching groove (see arrow Fig. 3-38) in the top of the extractor housing just long enough to place and hold the housing in its proper position.

Here is how the quick action disassembly system works. Open the action and then close it enough to move the hammer away from the front of its slot and then push the trigger guard forward enough to disengage it from the hinge pin, tip the rear of the guard down away from the pin then slide it to the rear and pull it out and away from the receiver and breech block. Next remove the breech block by pivoting the plunger stop lever and withdraw the breech block. Follow this by sliding the extractor housing assembly rearward into the breech block recess and out the bottom.

It took us some time to figure this all out but it turned out to be much simpler than we had first thought.

We really do not know why anyone would want to have a rifle which allows quick and easy removal and replacement of the barrel except for just the novelty of it, or to have a rifle with interchangable barrels, but if you want this feature on the No. 2 VAULT LOCK rifle here is how we did it, and it works reasonably well. The principle is similar to that used on some B.S.A. and Greener Martini rifles, that is, via a split receiver ring and a cross bolt to pull the split receiver together. As shown in Fig. 3-38, we split the top of the receiver ring, sawing it in two with a hacksaw. Then we drilled, counterbored and threaded two opposing holes through the thick top of the receiver ring to accept 10x32 sockethead screws; the front screw about 1/4" back from the front of the receiver (Fig. 3-39) and the second about 3/16" back of the first one. The holes were not drilled all the way through; only the heads show, one on each side. There is considerable metal on both sides of the receiver ring, but with the right or loading port side still yieldable enough to allow the two takedown screws to draw the split receiver easily together, a necessary requirement with this takedown system.

We then threaded the barrel so that, with the takedown screws loose, the barrel could be easily turned into the receiver by hand. In fact, this takedown system works best if the barrel threads are a bit undersized to a point where the barrel has a perceptible looseness before it is tightened. In this way when the barrel is turned in by hand until stopped when the barrel shoulder contacts the receiver, the tightening of the two takedown screws will cause the V threads when drawn together to draw the barrel back to become very tightly jammed against the receiver and thus providing a secure and rigid barrel to receiver fit. Wear the threads in by removing and replacing the barrel a number of times, tightening and loosening it, and when a good smooth fit is obtained which still allows the barrel to be removed by hand after the takedown screws are loosened, hand tighten the barrel as before, tighten the takedown screws and make an index mark at that spot on the side of the barrel and front of the receiver. Now you are ready to face off the breech end of the barrel and/or breech block for the .001" space between breech block and barrel as recommended, chamber the barrel and make the extractor cut. Now is also a good time to install the scope mount base or bases, and for this we recommend the Weaver type bases with top detachable mount rings, this because the scope must be removed to unscrew the barrel. Now is also the time to install the forearm anchor block and forearm. We suggest using a 10x32 sockethead screw to attach the forearm so that the same Allen wrench can be used to loosen the takedown screws and remove the forearm screw. To hold an Allen wrench, we further suggest you drill a hole in the rear of the forearm and cut a groove from that hole to the bottom of the forearm for the short end of the wrench. Now if you make the action a quick demountable one, after removing the action parts, the Allen wrench can be slipped out, the two takedown screws loosened and barrel with forearm attached turned out of the receiver.

An F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. rifle chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge ready and fully equipped with sling and scope for the small game hunter. This was our prototype model with a 23" half octagon barrel, 4X Bushnell scope, Jaeger 7/8" carrying sling and auxiliary open sights.

Chapter 4

HOW TO MAKE The F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. Action and Rifle

If you want to make a .22 rimfire rifle for yourself, or for your wife, son or daughter, or for a grandchild, a rifle for hunting small game, plinking or for casual target shooting, then we have the answer for you in these pages. Take a second look at the illustration shown here and read our description of the rifles shown (Figs. 4-A & 4-B) and it may be exactly what you have been looking for in an accurate rifle, a safe one to shoot and one which you probably can make in your own limited equipped home workshop. The rifle is our F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F., and we had you in mind when we designed it and when we drew up the plans and instructions on how to make it.

The F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. rifle is a single-shot having a swinging block action. We named it the CHICOPEE R.F. because its action has features found in certain Stevens and Page-Lewis .22 rimfire rifle actions and because these rifles were once made in Chicopee Falls, MA. Even so our CHICOPEE action is entirely unlike any that Stevens or Page-Lewis ever made with some additional features which makes our action stronger, safer and easier to make.

We have already described the CHICOPEE R.F. action and rifle in Chapter 1 but we will describe it here again briefly (Fig. 4-C). It has an action in which the breech block swings down for loading and unloading, an action in which the breech block is securely supported at its rear and locked closed by a rotary locking bolt. It has a manually cocked hammer which rebounds to the safe position after firing. The trigger is fully adjustable and the extractor is a postive one. It is a rather long and thin action (Fig. 4-D), ideal for the one-piece stock, a feature many single-shot rifle shooters want. It is an action held in the stock by two screws, a feature common with most high powered bolt action rifles. Lastly, it is an action of sandwich construction; that is, the receiver and breech block are fashioned from common flat steel stock which makes for easy construction. Besides all of this, and except perhaps for the barrel, it is an action and rifle you can put together from material available everywhere. The few materials you cannot obtain locally can be purchased from Brownell's Inc., Montezuma, IA.

In the CHICOPEE R.F. action the entire firing mechanism is built between the walls of the breech block, and by having one wall removable it makes it easier to make and fit the firing mechanism parts. The action is simple to operate; merely rotate the locking lever back and the breech block swings downward of its own weight to expose the chamber (Fig. 4-E). Loading is easy because the top surface of the breech block has a groove in it to guide the cartridge into the chamber. To close the action merely place your finger on the bottom of the trigger guard and swing the breech block up and when fully closed the rotary lock will automatically lock the action closed. Although it is a strong action we recommend it only for the .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle rimfire cartridges. If you follow our instructions in making this action and rifle, if you use care in the making of the action with a precisely fitted barrel and breech block, you should end up with a sound rifle which will, if you take proper care of it, last for many years. We have the drawings exact size showing every part and detail clearly and the instructions for making each part and assembling them are explicit. If this is the first time you have ever attempted such a project you will no doubt find it necessary to make one or more parts over again just as we had to do. We have proved that the design of the F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. rifle is sound so now it is up to you to prove to yourself that you can make one.

Vault Lock Rifle ActionOutline Hunting Rifle Stock

Another F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. rifle. This one with red cedar stock and 23" round tapered barrel weighs less than five pounds. The Brownell rib screwed to the barrel not only provides a mounting base for a scope sight but also a base for an open rear sight. The front sight is mounted on a low Williams Shorty front sight ramp screwed to the barrel.

Another F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. rifle. This one with red cedar stock and 23" round tapered barrel weighs less than five pounds. The Brownell rib screwed to the barrel not only provides a mounting base for a scope sight but also a base for an open rear sight. The front sight is mounted on a low Williams Shorty front sight ramp screwed to the barrel.

Vault Lock ActionShortest Lever Action RifleVault Lock

The F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. action with stock removed showing the two screws which secures the barrell and action assembly in the one-piece stock. It also shows the recess in the receiver for the locking lever.

The F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. action with stock removed showing the two screws which secures the barrell and action assembly in the one-piece stock. It also shows the recess in the receiver for the locking lever.

An angled view of the action open showing the loading groove on the top of the breech block in line with the chamber to make for convenient and easy chambering of a cartridge. This also shows the extended half moon extractor.

Close-up view of the F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. action closed. It is securely fastened in the one-piece stock by two screws, one on each end of the action in the manner most high powered bolt action rifles are made. Rotating the knobbed lever positioned along side of the hammer unlocks the breech block and allows it to swing down of its own weight to expose the chamber. Engraved by Dennis Brooker, Prole, Iowa.

Vault Lock Rifle Plans

CAPTIONS for drawings and photos with some preliminary instructions for making the F.D.H. CHICOPEE R.F. action. NOTE: All the drawings except Fig. 4-1 are made actual size and any dimensions not given can be taken from the drawings.

Drawings Rifles


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  • Hana
    How to make a Vault Lock rifle?
    9 years ago
  • warren
    How it works Cartridge lifter .22 cal rifle?
    7 years ago

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