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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While the modern firearms are fun, neat, interesting; sometimes getting back to their roots makes for an interesting project.
Here's where the past 3+ years of my free time has gone.
It's gonna be a full-sized, six-barreled "Commercial Model of 1885" Gatling gun in 45-70 caliber.
With the exception of rifled barrel blanks from Numrich (tells you how long ago I start this), EVERYTHING has had to be made. I've made foundry patterns to mould and cast the bronze and cast iron parts- machined screws, nuts and bolts, either because of some unique thread pitch or unusual head shape- re-learned obsolete machining practices used to get the desired finish. i.e. Frame was draw-filed and the underside cuts done on a draw cut shaper.
I even got to figure out how to engrave and etch bronze for the breech casing markings.

Believe it or not; once you get over the complexity, it's mostly repetitive. Six bolt bodies and small parts and springs to make, six firing pins, six extractors, six barrels to profile and finish, etc.
I figure I'm about 85% done with building the gun. Next comes fitting and timing (possibly another 3-4 months). Then, at close to 500 pounds for gun and tripod, it gets trucked to the range and test-fired.
It's been a long project but I can say after spending time on it; I never wake up with a hang-over, I can remember where that $310.00 went, and I have yet to catch anything from a gun part that's required shots of penicillin to cure.
Pretty innocent fun if you ask me.

Here are some pictures.









 

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OMG AN WOW IM GLAD YOU POSTED AN WELCOME TO GUNCO AGAIN THAT IS AMAZING.

THIS IS THE KIND OF STUFF WE NEED MORE OF. SIMPLY AMAZING

THANKS FOR THE PM,S BTW. I SEE YOU IN SACRAMENTO I HAD FAIMLY THERE AN AM ORINGALY FROM SANTA ROSA.

YOUR LIKELY THE ONLY GUY ON HERE CASTING PARTS.

I even got to figure out how to engrave and etch bronze for the breech casing markings.

YEA WE WILL WANT A TUTORIAL ON THAT. I HAVE SEEN WERE THEY USE A PHONE CHARGER TRANSFORMER AN A QTIP BUT WHAT DID YOU DO??

I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT THOSE PICTURES FOR A HALF AN HOUR NOW.

DID YOU GO FROM PRINTS OR OLD PARTS OR WHAT. IS THIS A DIRECT COPY/REPRODUCTION ??????
 

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Wow! That IS impressive. Thanks for posting. Please keep us updated on your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks to all for the kind words.

It's a remake, copy, whaddya call it, of a gun that's a mystery to me. The Commercial Model Gatling I'm currently working on is referred to in a manual/handbook and I have original Colt drwgs showing some of it's parts but I have yet to come across any records or notes that says this gun was ever produced. Most original Gatlings are ten barrel, 'open frame' guns but this one has only six barrels that are 24" long instead of 32".
As a shorter version it might have been marketed to Federal Reserve banks, Express Companies, penitentiaries and I've seen two different letters to railroad officials suggesting that it could be very effective in controlling the pesky, upstart union rabble.
Here's a picture of my "Model of 1892" Army Contract Gatling gun for comparison.



Here are my iron foundry guys hard at work casting tripod parts. That little crucible he's tipping holds 100 pounds of 2,700 degree cast iron. These guys do three pours a day and move around the shop carrrying the crucibles at a fast walk. I grab one of these and just spin in a circle. It's all I can do to get one off the ground.



And this is the brass foundry casting breech casings and cartridge feed hoppers out of manganese bronze. The crucible on the chain hoist holds 400 pounds of molten metal. Cooler by comparison, it's only about 1,800 degrees.



I haven't mastered true "push engraving" yet. My markings are an etching process.
I do the artwork on my computer than take the file to a shop that makes outdoor vinyl signs.
after the vinyl is cut, instead of saving the lettering and throwing away the back ground, I throw away the lettering and the background becomes a stencil (mask). I've come up with a chemical soup that only etchs brass or bronze-- but boy, does it etch brass or bronze. It's a slow process but very controllable. Eight hours will give me very uniform .020" to .030" deep lettering and detail.
 

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OMG What a thing of beatuy!!!!!!! Where in the Hell did you get all your specs from???? That must have taken some serious reserch to get all of those!!!! Not only the measurements but alloy specs too,,, Holy Crap!!! ALL That information alone must have taken years to gather. And the mount,,, WOW, all I can say is ,,, UNBELIEVIBLEY GEORGIOUS ,,,,how in the hell did you get the lettering down so perfect, you must have, work in one , or have a VERY GOOD friend that works in a foundry,, or at least an and original to make a mold with,,,,,,,what an Incredible peice of workmanship,,,,,, for sure!!! :notworthy :notworthy

You are truely an artist!!!!

Those do however,,,, cause brain dammage,, if you wern't aware of it? Jones762 Ya,,,, it happens when your wifey beats you up side the head from ignoreing her by being in the shop so much!!!!! :bangin: :bangin: Nothing to speak of when you start buying ammo for it! DOWWWWW,,,, could be fatal ya know!!!! Better be carefull there son!!

That is truely amasing!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
twa2471,
I've had the incredible luck of meeting a patternmaker who was happy to help me learn foundry work, a fellow builder who started collecting Colt's Armory blueprints and original drawings on linen in the 1960s, old machinists who liked sharing 'craft secrets' they had learned when they were sweepers just starting their apprenticeships. Tool and die makers who taught me to "read" machined surfaces so I could tell how the original part was made and how it wore against companion parts.
I don't mind cleaning up and sweeping, wiping down machines, lugging materials so pretty soon I guess they decided I was useful as well as ornamental.
Of course, none of it happened overnight; this has been over a 40 year period. And I definately was no mechanical genius from the start. I've got a scrap pile so high that mountaineers come from all over the world to climb.

As far as getting hit up beside the head for spending too much shop time... that's easy.
I have two words for anyone contemplating a relationship; "German" "Shepards".
I've got two who like to lay just outside the door as I work so they can keep an eye on me. Can't have me sneaking off for a parts or materials run and not taking them for a ride in the truck.
I think their biggest worry is that somehow I forget how to use the can opener.
 

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WOW this thing is crazy! I am very impressed and humbled in the knowledge and skill that takes to build...WOW
 

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It's a remake, copy, whaddya call it, of a gun that's a mystery to me. The Commercial Model Gatling I'm currently working on is referred to in a manual/handbook and I have original Colt drwgs showing some of it's parts but I have yet to come across any records or notes that says this gun was ever produced.
<big grin> Any ordinary nutjob can copy a gun; it takes a special king of nutjob to copy one that never existed!

Welcome to Gunco! You'll fit right in...
 

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Beautiful work!! Can I ask-how many molds to get your castings just right?
With the short barrels it must be the carbine version!
 

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All I can say is "WOW!" And I was proud of the "lost wax" aluminum casting I did in high school metal shop, nothing compared to this!
 

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YUP, we couldn't get away with all our toys and projects otherwise, if we WERN'T single, my critters don't mind eaither!!! Might be why I've been divorced twice??? Well maybe!!! NAW, musta been just,,, them :lol: :lol:

What a stroke of luck to have friends that have acess to all that info and the skills to bring it to completion, your very lucky there. Otherwise all these neat things would just fade away with no hope of ever reproduceing them otherwise. Your preserving history here guy. My Gramps was a machinest too and I just wish I'd been older before he passed so I could have learned his skills, he had a reputation of being one of the best around from what I'd heard. I truely missed out there. Paw did OK, but gramps was an artist!!

You have obviously paid attention to your benafactors and have done them proud. And obiously have the patchence it takes to do the tedious stuff that really makes a project POP!!! I'm a pretty persnickity bugger myself when it comes to minor details too, even if there not outwardly appaeriant at first glance, that's what quality is all about. I can't stand working with "slam bang butchers" that constently look for a short cut for everything they do,,,and unfortunatley, there's all to many of them out there nowdays.

Can't wait to see it completed and running!! What a neat and unique build,,,,,OUTSTANDING JOB guy!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Gunco, I am honored and humbled by the kind words of the Grand Poobah. Thanks for letting me join your bunch.

TRX, What I've learned from going over original Colt prints is that their practice was to let the gunsmiths in the "East Armory" build a gun, then send it to the drafting department where it was disassembled and measured. Next a blueprint was made based on those dimensions. At least some of the 'Commercial Model' parts were made but not necessarily a complete gun. Gatling was primarily an inventor and salesman and if he didn't find a lot of interest, that particular model may have died right there.
Gatling guns were born under an ill-fated star. They were too modern and the old school artillary officers wouldn't even consider testing and evaluating Gatlings until they were ordered to by Lincoln. By the time they were seeing service (Indian Wars and the Span-Am conflict), the Maxims and Colt machine guns were making an appearance. Light, portable with a two man crew vs. the Gatling on artillary carriage with limber, team of horses and needing a crew of five to operate (one man cranked, another aimed, one man loaded and two ferried magazines from and back to the limber where they were reloaded). Gatling guns never really had a chance. Actually, more were sold overseas for the Boxer Rebellion, the Boer War, Zulu Uprising and to foreign governments than stayed here stateside.

BBill,
The brass foundry molders and foundrymen have been at it long enough to be able to tell just by looking how a part is pouring. They ram up the molds and pour one, shake it out and then hover over it. They'll have a conference right on the foundry floor deciding that they need to open up this gate or that runner, or that they need a chill or two 'right here'. Next they'll doctor the rest of the molds and start the pour and every part will come out right. That's the kind of workmanship you get when the youngest guy there has been with the foundry 22 years.
My iron foundry guys are fourth generation; fathers, sons, cousins, nephews all work there and each has learned from the others. It's great to go into a place where everybody is laughing and joking. And it shows in how well they work together.

Carbine, ehh? Funny you should say that. When I first launched myself on "the path from which no man returns" (gun building), I went down to BATF to make sure I wasn't building an illegal weapon. I took along my copies of original blueprints, metalurgical reports and "coupons" (2" squares of samples of the materials I'd be using) and a lovely letter describing my project. The agents I met with listened politely, then one said to the other "Well, at least he's not going to be doing any drive-bys with it". They told me "Don't drop it on yourself-- looks like it could be heavy", and sent me out the door.
I actually had more trouble with DOJ. Not because it's illegal but because they have no classification for Gatling guns. By their own defination it's; not a pistol, not shoulder fired, not a shotgun or AOW; so what do we call it? Gatling's own patent application description still stands to this day. It's a "Collection of single-shot actions assembled around a central axis".
 

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DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THIS POSTED ON OTHER SITES??????

IM STILL JUST STUNNED AN TO THINK I SORT OF BLEW OFF YOU CALIBURE CONVERSION IDEA FOR THE 5.7 AS IMPRACTICAL

I HOPE YOU MADE MULTIPUL CASINGS AS THERE WILL BE GUYS WANTING ONE OF THOSE AN ID BE THEAT MONEY FOR THOSE GUYS WOULD BE A NON ISSUE.

ID HAVE TO SAY TO HAVE THAT BUILT YOU WOULD BE LOOKING AT $25,000 OR MORE.

YOU MENTIONED YOU HAVE OTHER PROJECTS YOU HAVE COMPLETED??? I ONLY HOPE YOU WILL SHARE THEM HERE WITH US.

I THOUGHT I PUSHED THE ENVELOPE WITH SOMEOF MY TARGET AK STUFF. HELL I HAVENT EVEN GOT OUT OF THE CRIB COMPARED TO WHAT YOU DOING.
 

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Jones, that is pure art!!!!!!!!!!! Gun porn!!!!! Like 1biggun said, we need more of this kind of outside the box thinking and projects to keep things fresh. You sir are a MASTER!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Not posted extensively anywhere else. Just wanted to share with you guys.

1biggun, No problem. I do most of these projects for my own amusement. "What if?" is just my form of day-dreaming. When one sounds fun, I just conjure up a half-baked plan and start whittling out parts. The only thing that still amazes me is when the self-styled "experts" view my finished part or project then say with a sniff that I 'couldn't have possibly made it myself'. Sure wished I'd checked with them first; probably could have saved me a whole lot of shop time.
Never thought about putting out casting kits. Ya gotta make foundry patterns whether you're building one or a whole run. It's all the same.
Bottom line in my thinking is; 'If someone else made one, I should be able to do the same'. I never let the fact that they're working out of a factory and I'm working out of a garden shed even enter into the equation.

Other projects include my Draco/Krink pistol (also posted here under Completed AK Projects). And a made in Italy replica 45-70 Sharps Saddle Ring Carbine.
Now I know they're a dime-a-dozen and that every re-enactor has a so many that he's using the extras for table legs or tent stakes. THAT'S why I decided mine had to be a little different-- so I re-barreled it to 50 caliber. OK still not an earth-shaking task, but wait... the only thing in 50 cal I could lay my hands on at the time was the front half of a de-milled Browning M2HB barrel. At this point I'm still only dimly aware of what I'm getting myself into. Do you have any idea how much extra steel (and tough steel at that) is in a 50 BMG barrel on it's way to being turned down to the size and contour of a saddle ring carbine?!? ...I do. Granted turnings are fluffier than solid metal but still, I literally put out just over two 55 gal. barrels of chips.
It's done now with a barrel exactly the same outside shape and size of the original reproduction barrel. I even put on the "V" for visually inspected and "P" for proofed marks along with the eagle's head arsenal acceptance stamp (it's attention to the little details that make or break a project).
Inside, the bore looks like it has riflings so deep that they were cut with a tap; and with a twist like a spiral staircase. Even that acute, it doesn't shave lead and it shoots like a dream.
At the range, after the first shot or two, people start to take notice 'cause the woof of a 50-70 is nothing like the sound a 45-70 makes. I can also drop a 45-70 nose first down the muzzle and it falls in, stopped only by the cartridge rim.

Like I say; A boy's gotta have a hobby-- keeps him out of trouble.
 
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