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Field Expedient Gunsmithing

The Castle's Ross M1905 rifle.
 
Welcome to the Castle's Ross M1905 rifle.  This is one of the ones the US bought from Canada to remediate a shortage of training weapons during the expansion of the US Army prior to our entry into WWII, as evidenced by the Ordnance "Flaming Bomb" on the underside of the wrist of the stock.  One thing I love about Commonwealth weapons is the plethora of markings on them, in the case of the Ross, all the Canadian markings are on the butt.

This is a rifle that has been in the Holdings since the early 90's.  Little did I know when I got it, that it was... damaged.  I discovered the barrel has been shortened a smidge - enough so that it won't take a Ross bayonet.  So, I have a Ross bayonet, but no holder for it.  That's okay.  More annoying (and insidious) was a missing spring.  I didn't notice that right away because of the clever way a previous owner had kludged it.  Using foam.  Things had worked just fine for a while.  I didn't shoot it much, and it came apart as it was supposed to.  Recently, I thought I might like to make the hills come alive to the sound of .303 gunfire, and pulled out the Ross.  When I pulled to bolt back to clear the rifle after taking it from the rack, the bolt came right out of it.  

No, this was not a famous example of reassembling the Ross bolt incorrectly (which can cause it to fly back into the shooters face when fired) this is because the plunger that holds the bolt in place was not in the correct position.  Which took me some time to figure out.  And it wouldn't budge.  Not a good sign.  So, take the rifle over to the bench and take it apart, and find the problem.  What the heck is that foam doing there, jamming the piece in place?  And where the heck is the spring?

Clearly, Bubba found his field-expedient solution of putting some springy foam in there and then forgot about it.  Who knows how long and how many owners ago?

I don't have a stock of Ross M1905 parts, nor do I have a stock of gunsmith springs (note to self, some shopping might be in order).  But I do have an idea.  Since the *work* the bolt stop does is halt rearward travel by blocking the receiver rails, and the stress is taken up the the receiver and bolt stop, all the spring does is keep the bolt stop in the high position, and provide resistance to return it to that position when the weapon is disassembled for cleaning and such.  I don't really need a purpose built, tempered part.  I just need a spring sufficient to defy gravity and hold the bolt stop in it's channel.  

I have an old, cheap, eminently sacrificial ball point pen...  I have a spring!

And it works just fine.

Ross M1905 receiver with the bolt stop standing proud thanks to it's ball point pen donor.

Gotta be able to do this kind of stuff when the Zombies come and the FedEx guy can't make it down the road...

11 Comments

Good on you!
 
 Just a point of clarification, for a dumb old vet, me. You write, under the lower picture,

"Gotta to be able to do this kind of stuff *when* the Zombies come and the FedEx guy can't get down the road...."

I think we all know the Zombies have already hit, it appear that you are talking about an extremely local issue. Do you want to find Zombies? Let's see what we can do to send John to Congress. By the way, same to you!  8 ^ )
 
Of  course if the Zombies perform a false flag operation, and infect a FEDEX driver.....
 
 Rich, that would be no problem, because our FedEx driver is afraid of my dogs and pulls into the drive, opens his window, and drops whatever he is delivering on the driveway.
 
Remind me to send something to John 'signature required.'

*evil grin*
 
Hehehehehe....as an old tinkerer, the ball-point pen spring gambit is
known. Also handy are hairpins in assorted sizes, to make small flat
spring parts. I never throw out a spring; prior to discard all appliances
are  broken down, and springs, screws, bearings, and copper/brass
are salvaged.

Old carburators are a spring source also, as can be the rebuild kits.

The real bug-boo with guns is the screws. Was there ever a gunmaker
that used a standard size/thread pitch? Not in my experience. Grrrggh!


 
BTW John...the current hip term for what you and the Foam Guy did is WECSOG...Wile E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing.

One of the more interesting examples I've seen was a guy who replaced the extractor spring on his AR with a short, rolled up piece of rubber band.
 
I at least used a *spring*...
 
Ms. D: So, if the FedEx guy ever got out of the truck, you'll know he's really a zombie?
 
I've done something similar.  A rock musician friend had a nasty little Davis derringer in .38 Special.  The safety detent spring was broken, so I replaced it with a piece of ballpoint pen spring. Worked great, and maybe kept it from going off in his pocket and his wife suing him for loss of consortium. 
 
 Unfortunately most of the Ross rifles I have seen in Oz had a large hole drilled in the Nock's Form, and needed a little more than Bubba gunsmithing to restore them to shootables.