Italian Vetterli-Vitali M1870-87

This rifle from the reference collection is a Italian Vetterli-Vitali M 1870-87. It was made in 1880 as stamped on the left side of the barrel. It is a magazine conversion of the M1870 single shot rifle. This conversion consisted of a metal shroud around the magazine housing, removing the dust cover and installing a knurled knob on the bolt to close of the magazine to allow single shot firing. There were a few other changes. For furtherinformation on this and other Vetterli rifles check out this very interesting book by Robert Wilsey.

crop-sYou can find it here.

Now on to the pictures

DSC_1830csA close up of the receiver.




DSC_1845csThe M90 rear sight .

DSC_1844csThe stock markings.

DSC_1839csBayonet lug on the side of the barrel.


DSC_1847sA view of the rear locking lugs

DSC_1854csA look at the magazine follower and the face of the bolt.



Cut Away Mauser

Rod Henrickson, a friend of gun lab, was nice enough to send me a few pictures of a cut away Mauser rifle that he made. As everyone knows I have a thing for cut away weapons and i really appreciate the work that Rod put into making his.

1He really did a very nice job as can be seen in this picture.

2A big thank you to Rod for sharing his work.

3This is a link to a video of Rod operating his cut away.

CNC router update

Over the last few weekend I have been working on trying to get the CNC router completed thus allowing me to finish the stocks and hand guards for the VG1-5 rifle. For every step forward there seems to have been 3 steps back. It is hard to believe that it has been over a year on and off that I have been working on this machine and just when I thought I was finished along comes another problem.

So lets start this long story.

It started with getting the router home and actually operating it. There were some problems noted right off. The first was the table that it sat on. There was way to much vibration for any kind of accuracy. These are the pictures of the old frame.



DSC_4596sParts of it were old window frames

DSC_4595sSo a new frame was design and built for the router. 80-20 aluminum extrusions were machined for the frame.

DSC_5836sThe table was assembled.

DSC_5839sCustom supports were made to hold the cnc router on the table.

DSC_5815sNow it was ready to move the router over.


DSC_6019sAngle brackets and supports added to reduce vibration.

DSC_6020sThe next issue that had to be dealt with was his wiring. It was a disaster.


DSC_5817s While the machine was able to operate there was no accuracy and no way to trouble shoot problems. It was then decided to make an entirely new control panel.


DSC_8904sEverything had its own place and wiring could be traced out to locate problems.

We also changed out the break out board to a smoothie board.


At this point you would think everything would be easy and simple and I could move forward quickly. That would not be the case time and again. Problems started showing up fairly quickly. From simple items like changing from plastic side panels


to aluminum. This helped with the strength and well as allowing allowing a method of attaching components.


DSC_4171sThe next issue that came about was changing the limit switch brackets. The builder used strips of bent aluminum that would actually move every tine the X,Y or Z axis touched then.


DSC_4164sTwo of them were actually tie-wrapped in place.

DSC_4163sNew mounting brackets were made and installed.

DSC_4710sThese were machined from aluminum stock to allow no movement.



DSC_4825sHowever when it came to the Z axis we decided to go with micro switches instead of the push button type.

DSC_4779sThis may be an option for all the limit switches in the future.

The next item on the list was the wire troughs. The previous owner used on 1/2 lengths of flexible wire troughs then he used an aluminum cover that he glued and tie-wrapped on the housing.

DSC_4163sI bought some more the the original wire troughs and attached it properly to minimize movement.


DSC_4816sThe final task will be to tie-wrap them all down.

An air system was design and added to the router.

From the regulator and filter.DSC_4161s

DSC_4337sTo the solenoid switches and manifold.


DSC_4770sThe power was run to a plug in box as well. In addition a couple of extra control circuits were added to allow for added features.

So now comes the moment of truth. We had already,with the help of Walley, tested the X axis motor control. With the limit switches wired in and the other axis wire up we were ready to calibrate the router. As one final test I was operating the Z axis with a battery operated drill motor when all of a sudden it just fell off. I mean to say that the complete drive assembly just dropped. This is when we noticed a completely new set of issues.

To attach the ball lead screw to the motor coupler he cut the threads off.


DSC_4784sThen he used the coupler to act as a thrust plate and attachment to the motor. Off course to do this he needed to grind the heck out it as it wanted to rub against the housing.

DSC_4787sHe then cut the motor shaft to allow everything to go together.

DSC_4781sYou can see just how much of the shaft he cut away.

DSC_4780sThis is what he started with.

3128N1dp+yLTo correct the Z axis problems it had to be redesign.


z-axis1Still using the original spacer which was way to short.


DSC_4785sA new spacer and housing was design and machined.



DSC_4821sThis new housing will allow for a correct height for the shaft, bearing, thrust block and coupler.

This is it for now as we wait for the new ball lead screw. This is also the last 3 weekends of work, not to include the fab shop and library addition. more on those later.


More on my Love- Hate affair with the MG-34

I saw this picture over at enrique262 site.

tumblr_omcecjn56T1s7e5k5o1_1280The real reason for so many 34’s is that maybe one will work for the entire time.

Check it out.

Beretta model 57

Gordie K., a friend of gun lab, was nice enough to send me some pictures of a Beretta model 57 that he made in semi auto only. This is one of my to do projects and I am excited to see someone accomplishing this. Here are a few pictures of his build.




DSCN0118[1]-csOne of the interesting designs of this rifle is that the barrel extension is held in only by brazing it is place. There are on pins or steps in the receiver.

The barrel extension still attached to the right side of the receiver.

DSC_0093csThe inside of the left side of the receiver showing the brazing material.

DSC_0095csThe barrel threads and barrel extension threads are an acme type thread instead of a normal type of thread.

DSC_0099csThe internal shape on the receiver is well thought out design for machining.


SIG PE57 cut away.

Dale, a friend of Gun Lab, did a great write up on the SIG PE-57 cut away rifle. With his permission here are a few of the great pictures that he took.

2r4ms7pSide view of the cut away.

2mpitexA great picture of the parts break down.

35814lkA really nice shot of the pistol grip and fire control mechanism.

acztpuIf you have not do it yet you should go over and check out his entire article. It is well do and the pictures alone are worth the visit.

He is currently working on a write up on the Hakim cut away rifle. An information that you can provide for him would be appreciated

More on the fluting press

I have added a pressure gauge on the hydraulic system. This will allow two methods to determine if the chambers are being fluted correctly.



Update on the fab shop

Work has been progressing on the fab shop even if at a slower pace then I like. Time and weather has been a real issue.

The roof has been coated twice so we are water tight.

DSC_4096sAll the wall have been put up,

DSC_4102sI have started installing the electrical boxes.

DSC_4322sWiring will be next weekend after I drill all the holes.

Part of the out side walls have now been coated as well.

DSC_4325sI have decided to use stainless mesh instead of glass windows. This will help with air flow.

DSC_4321sMore next weekend.


Working on the CNC router

A large part of this weekend was spent working on the cnc router. I finished the connectors and hooked them up at the connector board that I made.

DSC_4330sThe motor control circuits were then wired up.

DSC_4329sThe wiring from the out side of the connector box were hooked up.

DSC_4335sAll new wiring and air was then run through the flexible wire the Y and Z motors and limit switches.


DSC_4332sThe previous owner just glued and tie wrapped the aluminum covers.


I will have to make brackets to correctly hold everything in place.

The air system has been installed, however I am going to have to change where it sets.

DSC_4337sBy the end of Sunday the X axis was moving under its own power.

DSC_4327sA big thank you to Wally, a friend of gun lab, for all his held and expertise in getting the cnc router up and running.

So this is the final status for this weekend. All the motors are now hooked up and powered up. I have started wiring up the limit switches and will have that completed by next weekend. The new air solenoids are here and a new backing plate needs to be made. We are getting closer to getting this machine back up on line and working.







A 22lr EM-2

A friend who has passed made this copy of an EM-2 in 22lr. It is amazing what people can come up with. Defiantly an interesting rifle.

Right and left side views of the rifle.


DSC_3558sLook closely at the markings on the carrying handle base


DSC_3580sRear sight and carrying handle





Rear butt plateDSC_3569s

DSC_3566sAdded ejection port cover


DSC_3568sMagazine releaseĀ  and rear cover

DSC_3581scocking handle

DSC_3579sMagazine housing

DSC_3574sleft side showing the cocking handle, grip and trigger

DSC_3582sA couple of views of the front site and base


DSC_3575sFront band

DSC_3572sFront sling swivel