E-Mail and Tracking Numbers

Over the past several years, the amount of time we spend answering e-mails and providing tracking numbers has increased way out of proportion to any increase in sales.

With tracking numbers, it seems that everyone wants to plot the progress of his order during shipment.  We have no way of sending these automatically, so it has to be done manually, which takes time that could better be used otherwise.

Because of this, we will no longer provide tracking numbers unless a package is lost—which was the original purpose of tracking numbers.

As far as e-mails go, 2 or 3 used to be sufficient to settle questions regarding an order.  Over the past several years, twice as many seem to be needed to cover all the bases, and the questions/e-mails are not nearly as well thought-out as in the past.  It’s almost as if the sender has a phone in his hand, sending individual questions as they occur to him.

We’re not Twitter and can deal with more than one question at a time.  So please think through your project and ask all questions in your first communication so we can answer them more efficiently. We know there will occasionally be follow-up questions and will gladly deal with those when they arise.

Ejector/Extractor Relief on Headspace Gauges

Customers are asking more frequently for headspace gauges with ejector and/or extractor relief cuts.  While we have made gauges with these features in the past, it’s been for large orders and specific customers who usually have to meet governmental requirements.

Our standard headspace gauges don’t have these features, and, in our opinion, don’t need them.  Read on to find out why we say this.  Comments below assume both extractor and ejector are working as designed.

Extractor Relief

Our gauges are made with full-circumference rims that are no larger or thicker than the rims of the cartridge you’re shooting.  If the cartridge rim will slip under the extractor, the rim of the gauge will also.  Having a full-diameter head, our gauges will locate against the bolt face more consistently than will gauges with one-third or one-half of the head cut away.

Ejector Relief

Plunger-type ejectors seem to be the concern because fixed ejectors within the receiver don’t contact the gauge head during headspacing.  The ejector plunger does contact the gauge head and must be compressed so the gauge head may seat squarely on the bolt face.  This is exactly what happens when the rim of the gauge is hooked under the extractor and pivoted to line up with and enter the chamber.

Once released by the gunsmith after entering the chamber, the gauge is pressed against the chamber wall by the ejector.  As the action is closed, the gauge centers up against the shoulder of the chamber, which forces the gauge straight within the chamber and the gauge head against the bolt face.  If there’s more than minimum headspace, the minimum gauge may remain slightly tipped—but you know you have at least minimum headspace.  If the action won’t close on the maximum gauge, the gauge will be straight within the chamber and flat against the bolt face—and you know headspace is less than maximum.

Hope this helps in your gunsmithing work. (For a printable format see Tool Instructions/Useful Information).

Hot Summer Sale

We’re offering NEW reamers at half the original price (manufacturer overruns), plus shipping. We are also offering unclaimed reamers that have been sharpened to our standard tolerances for the cost of sharpening, plus shipping:

Manufacturer Overruns

Please note: First Come, First Served, No Returns

New 6.5-300 WBY Mag Available

We have made a limited number of finish reamers for the new 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum. Cost $170 for solid pilot, $200 for removable pilot, shipped in a wooden box. These are specials so no price breaks but they are available for IMMEDIATE delivery.  Buy it now before they are gone!!

Solid vs Removable Pilot

Solid vs Removable Pilot—Which is Best?

Both solid and removable pilots do an equally good job–assuming proper clearance with the bore—and therein lies the problem. Solid pilots are ground to one size which is usually slightly smaller than minimum industry bore size; they will fit most commercial barrels closely enough to produce good results. Because there is less work to make a solid pilot reamer, they’re also about 25% less expensive.

Removable piloted reamers are made with a journal (spindle) on the front end that allows precision bushings of varying sizes to be fitted to the reamer. The gunsmith can then select a pilot bushing that fits the bore of a particular barrel with exactly the clearance he wishes.   Although the reamer with removable pilot costs more initially, and buying a selection of pilot bushings adds to the expense, this arrangement allows fine-tuning of the barrel/pilot fit.

Years ago, we used to sell about five solid pilot reamers for every one fitted with a removable pilot. This ratio has changed to approximately two solid for every one removable.   Firearms tooling–other than reamers–that uses pilot bushings (indicating rods, specialized form cutters, etc.) has become more popular and it makes sense to have a selection of bushings that can be used on both a chamber reamer and another piloted cutter that will be used on the same build.

In the end, your budget and needs will decide which system is “best”.

Wildcat Specials

We manufacture standard tooling, which we always stock, and special-order reamers, which are made to specific order.  Since “specials” are currently taking 12-14 weeks to complete, we’ve made one or more extra of calibers requested recently.  Below is a list of the “extras” that are available immediately.  They’re still priced as specials ($170 for solid pilot, $200 removable pilot-for most- and come in wooden boxes), but they can ship now.  Maybe one of them is just what you need!

5.7 x 28 9 mm Nato
 30 BR 50-70 Govt.
338 WSM 500 Linebaugh
 416-408 Chey-Tac RPF   300 Norma Mag
375  Remington Ultra Mag  348 Win
7.62×39 CIP  20 Tactical


Sending Things To Us

This week the postman and UPS driver brought us three packages that we opened and simply set aside, without doing anything with them. If any of them was yours, and you needed something done in a hurry, we won’t know because there were no instructions or contact information included—just a tool or two, or a dummy round.

You may have called and talked to someone about an alteration or sharpening you wanted. Last week, or two months ago–it doesn’t matter when you called, we simply can’t be expected to remember specific conversations because we talk to so many people.

When sending packages to us for whatever reason, please include your name, address, phone and email–if you have it. You must also provide specific instructions as to what you want done with whatever you sent (Dave doesn’t know what you need).  Finally, please provide payment information so we don’t have to make an otherwise unnecessary call.

When we have the information we need, your work will be completed more quickly than if we have to guess at what you want done. And, your package won’t sit on a shelf, waiting for you to contact us.

Manufacturing Times

In spite of adding machinery and personnel, our manufacturing times for special-order items are still much longer than we’d like. Special headspace gauges are able to be completed in fairly good time—2-3 weeks at most.  Special chambering reamers, however, are currently taking 3-4 months to get through the shop.

The manufacture of chambering reamers is much more involved than making gauges, and that is a small part of the problem. The larger issue is the many orders for “specials” that are ahead of yours.

When quoting an estimated manufacturing time, we look at our backlog and make a “best guess”, based upon our backlog, the type of reamer and its similarity to other orders already in the shop.   Generally, we come pretty close to our estimate.

What doesn’t help us to meet your expectation of when your tool will be finished, is having to answer calls asking about its progress, even though we all understand the frustration of waiting for something after having ordered it.

Calls about your tool’s progress won’t speed it through the shop and only serve to frustrate us and likely you as well. If we’ve quoted 3-4 months, please give us at least the 3 months before calling.  We’ll have more time to devote to production and you won’t have to hear us remind you of the manufacturing time we quoted when you ordered.