Author Topic: Making a kentucky pistol butt cap from scratch.(pictures fixed)  (Read 11635 times)

Offline Rolf

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Making a kentucky pistol butt cap from scratch.(pictures fixed)
« on: September 10, 2009, 11:44:58 PM »
So far I've only made and fitted one pistol butt cap. I have not been able to find much information on this subject.  This "tutorial" describes how I did it. I'm hoping the more experienced builders will add tips and comments.

1.Making the butt cap pattern.
I checked my last practice pistol stock with a pattern gauge and found it wasn't completely symmetrical. So my first step was to make a better pattern for the butt cap area. I used a pattern gauge to make sure it was completely symmetrical in both the horizontal and vertical planes.


2a.Making a  lead swag block.
I tried using the pattern to cast a lead swag block. The lead I used came from wheel weights and proved to soft for swaging 0.08” thick brass. Even though I had annealed the brass at 1472 ° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, the cavity deformed. Is there available a harder, low temperature casting alloy?




2b.Making a wooden swag block.
I inlet my butt cap pattern into a block of hardwood, using inletting black. This worked with 0.08" brass.


3. Making a pattern for the brass.
Use a piece of paper to measure the length of the butt cap pattern, from the tip of the cap to the end of the tang. Now measure across the pattern at ½" increments.


Mark these measurements off on a piece of paper and draw a tear drop.  This is a rough pattern and has to be adjusted. To adjust the pattern, glue it to a piece of 0.04" brass and cut it out. Take a knife and score the horizontal and vertical lines in the brass before annealing it.


Carefully beat the brass down into the swag block. Anneal often. You will now find out that your pattern is too big and the brass sticks way above the swag block. But the brass is still the same thickness (0.04”).
The circumference of the cup area of the pattern is larger than the circumference of the cavity in the swag block.  When the metal gets pushed down into the cavity, the edge contracts and extra brass (marked red) gets pushed out of the swag block.


Check the lines you score in the brass. Measure how far they stick above the swag block and use these measurements to adjust your pattern. I had to reduce my pattern with about 1/8" to 2/8" around the whole cup area. Test your adjusted pattern on 0.04" brass. Working with 0.04" brass is a lot easier and quicker than using 0.08"”brass. Try to make your pattern as small as possible and still fill the swag block. The less metal you use, the less metal you have to move , the easier it will be to fill the swag cavity. When you are satisfied, glue the pattern on 0.08 brass and cut it out.

4. Swaging the butt cap.
Take your time. Don't hit the metal to hard, or you will stretch and thin it. Anneal often. 0.08" brass work hardens quickly. I had to anneal the brass 12 times to get it all the way down into the swag block.   This is how it looked after the first round of swaging.


Notice there is a small“crease where the tang meets the cup.  This has to be"ironed" out as soon as possible. If you ignore it, it will keep getting bigger , the brass will hang up on it and not go down into the swag block.  Use a big punch as an anvil and hammer out the crease. This will also start the tang bending up.




Use as big as possible punch to drive the brass down into the swag block.  This will give a smooth even surface on the butt cap. If you only use a small punch or a ball point hammer, you'll get a bumpy, warty surface that will need a lot of filing.


5. Filing the edges of the butt cap.
Drill the screw hole in the butt cap and mount it in the swag block.


File off the edge of the brass cup that sticks above the swage block and file a draft on the tang.


The butt cap is now finished, ready to install on the pistol.




Best regards
Rolfkt
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:00:31 PM by rich pierce »

Offline Robert Wolfe

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 04:15:32 PM »
Amazing. Nicely done.
Robert Wolfe
Northern Indiana

Offline smart dog

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2009, 05:27:38 PM »
Hi Rolf,
Very well done.  I used the same procedure using a lead block to form a cap from German silver years ago.  The lead was sufficiently hard to keep its shape without much distortion except on the edges.   It never occured to me to use a good hardwood. Thanks for the tip.

dave
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2009, 07:43:09 PM »
 You made that look way to easy. Nice job. I have two to
 make and you just saved me some time.
 
 Thanks Tim C.

Offline sydney

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2009, 08:12:38 PM »
Very nice--thanks for taking the time to post all that information
    Sydney

Offline Rolf

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2009, 12:02:08 AM »
Thank you for your kind comments.

Swagging sterling silver butt caps,- word of warning.
I've finished swagging and ruff filing a pair of sterling silver buttcaps, using the same pattern and swagging block used for the brass one. The annealed silver went very fast and easy down into the swagging block, but it stretched and thinned alot more than the brass. The silver butt caps are 0.08"(2.0mm) at the rim and 0.06"(1.5mm) at the bottom where the screw hole is. I should have hit it more gently and annealed more often.  0.06" is probably strong enough, but I'm going to silver solder a coil of 0.02" silver wire on the inside of the caps to strengthen the area around the screw hole.

Best regards
Rolfkt




« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:02:04 PM by rich pierce »

Offline Waksupi

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2009, 10:50:07 AM »
If you want to harden wheel weight lead, you can make it at least twice the brinnel of air cooled alloy.
Once you have your form made, take a piece of scrap lead of the same alloy batch. Put it in a toaster oven, and bring the temperature up until the lead starts to slump. This should be around 425 - 450 or so in an oven.
Reduce the temperature by about 10 degrees, and run the same test again, watching for slump. If you see none after an hour, you are ready to go.
Put the item you want hardened in the center of the oven, and bring it up to temperature. Leave it in for one hour, then immediately quench in ice cold water.
Remove from water, and it will have reached full hardness in around 24 hours. This usually runs around 28 brinnel, while air cooled wheel weights will be around 12-14.

Offline Rolf

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 12:15:27 PM »
Thanks for the tip! I'll try that next time.

Best regards
Rolfkt

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2009, 05:31:03 PM »
WW alloy will get very hard if quenched.
It can also be quenched as soon as the cast solidifies but you will need a deep container for something this large and pad the bottom the container. I use 5-6 gallon plastic bucket full of water to quench pistol bullet right from the mould.

It will tend to be brittle.

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2009, 05:32:46 PM »
Great tutorial.
Can't wait to see the finished pistols.
Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline brokenflint

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2009, 07:33:07 PM »
I must have missed this earlier, Nice tut Rolfkt and nice looking pistol  ;)  Keep us posted on it also!!

Broke
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Brokenflint

Offline Ben I. Voss

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 08:31:47 PM »
Hmm... might one use a trailer hitch ball as a form like the large "punch" that Rolfkt shows? May be worth a look.

Offline Rolf

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Re: Making a pistol butt cap from scratch.
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 09:17:00 PM »
Ben,
A hitchball should work, if they are of solid steel. Just remember to polish the surface to 180 grit at least.

The punches I used for the butt caps were diameter: 40mm( 1.6"), 34mm(1.4") and 27mm(1.06").

Best regards
Rolfkt
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 09:17:25 PM by Rolfkt »