|Project by William||posted 10-10-2012 12:09 AM||4120 views||7 times favorited||32 comments|
My Dad is a member of S.A.S.S. (Single Action Shooting Society). In competition, he uses something called a loading block to carry twenty shells at a time up to the line. The block he has been using was dropped and damaged. It was still usable, but he wanted a new one. When he went to find the guy who’d made his other one, he found out the old man had passed away. So he thought I could make him one.
So, over a year ago, he brought one to me on a visit from where he lives, in Atlanta, Georgia. I thought this was going to be simple enough, and set out to make him one. Thinking it was simple turned out to be wrong.
The holes are so close together that no matter what I tried, it would break out when I got half way through making the thing.
Here was one of my better attempts, but as you can see, there is still quite a bit of tear out on the bottom, which I found unacceptable.
Well, I was putting up heater pipe yesterday when it came to me. It’s funny how things can seem so simple at the weirdest moments. So I hurried up and finished the heater work, and rushed back inside the shop to see if my idea was, in fact, going to work. It did.
The problem, the way I seen it, was that with the holes so close together, no matter how much I backed up the block, there just wasn’t enough support for the wood to hold together. Vibration from the drill bit, runout, something, would cause it to mess up. So all I had to do was provide support, but how was I to do this if backing it up by clamping it to another piece of wood wasn’t even working? How could I make the support stronger? Well I thought about the strength of wood in and of itself.
What I done was start with a block about a half inch thicker than I needed. It drilled all twenty holes to within a quarter of an inch to the bottom of that block. Also, I had ream out the top part of the holes. This makes room for the head of a gun shell and keeps it from falling through. After all this, then I moved over to the band saw and sliced off that extra half inch from the bottom of the block, leaving all twenty holes nice and clean.
So here is how he uses this block.
I don’t have any .45 long colt shells to demonstrate this with, only four enpty casings he left with me for measuring purposes, but that’ll do for me to show how it works.
Here the block is closed. When he walks up to the shooting line, the shells are held safey under the lid, with only the business ends sticking out the bottom. The primers, the part that could cause a shell to fire, are safely under the lid.
When he sets the block on the shooting table, he swings the lid open, revealing the shells. Here, there’s only the four empty casings I had available. Usually there would be twenty shells in it.
Also, with the lid swung open, the block can fall freely straight down to the table, pushing the primer head of the shell upwards, making them easier for him to grab with his fingers. The events are timed, so it’s important for the shells to be able to be easily grabbed as needed.
I will be seeing Dad next weekend. So I plan on giving him this one then. However, now that I know the “trick” to making these, I plan on, when I get time, making him a couple of extra blocks. I hope to make them a bit more fancy and personalized for him than this one.