The recent range trip had me drag the FrankenGarand out for another test. Ammunition is getting a little scarce with me overdue to acquire a proper quantity of 7.62 surplus, so I had to make do with the same ammunition as before (American Eagle 150gr). Concentrating more on the accuracy of the rifle than it’s basic operation the rifle seemed to print respectable 2″ groups, and with a little adjustment of the sights was plopping the rounds pretty much exactly where I wanted them. The last string in particular was impressive, with the rounds falling within about 1″ of each other.
The FrankenGarand was not the focus of this trip, and I’ll have to make a trip dedicated to nothing more than putting 100 rounds of so through the rifle, gauging its accuracy (and mine for that matter) properly. For now I am satisfied that the rifle is reliable and reasonably accurate, not bad for a home-built rifle, eh?
Today represented the final hurdle in the birth of my FrankenGarand, its range test.
The headspace had checked out ok and the rifle appeared to lock up tight and cycle properly, but there’s always a moments trepidation when firing a newly assembled rifle for the first time. This was certainly no exception, and I set the camera to record video for the first shot, just in case the worst happened.
I loaded one round into the rifle (if you’ve never done this with a Garand with no SLED you’re missing out – You can’t just stick it in the chamber and let go the bolt), and when the trigger was pulled the rifle went bang in the proscribed manner.
Subsequent efforts were simpler if only because an entire enbloc could be loaded. The only difficulty encountered was with the first enbloc. After every second round the enbloc would come halfway up and out of the action, requiring me to reseat it. I used a different enbloc for the remaining rounds, and this particular problem did not reappear.
Performance was acceptable (considering I had failed to boresight the rifle before taking it out), with an acceptable 4 inch grouping at 50 yards, which will have suffice until I get more .308 ammo to sight the rifle in properly as I must admit I was more concerned with function than accuracy on this trip.
So, after too much mucking around with the borrowed tools (receiver wrench and barrel blocks) in my uncles backyard, we managed to install the .308 barrel, and the Frankengarand was given life (without the screaming melodramatics, a hunchback or even angry villagers – although undoubtedly the neighbors were somehwat concerned).
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Ok, so lacking the patience to wait for proper gun coating (Armacoat) in this case I have painted the outstanding parts (op rod, trigger housing and rear sights) using high temp paint.
In the spirit of experimentation I figured theres no harm, should the finish prove inadequate for the task I can always strip the paint and redo the finish properly. If the finish holds up so much the better (hell, the paint is $5.00 a can as opposed to $50 for 8oz of Armacoat).
I also felt that a little color would serve the project, so I went ahead and bought some red hightemp paint, and did the bullet guide (pictured here) as a splash of color, in an otherwise black/grey rifle. This is supposed to be fun after all.
Barrel assembly is still on for Monday or Tuesday, and the rifle should be fully assembled minutes after the barrel is on. Stand by for pics and critique once it’s finished.
The to-do list for the project is rather long, but featured prominently was the refinishing of the receiver that is the heart of the rifle. I had sworn that no “historically significant” parts would be harmed in the assembly of this rifle, and as a result I acquired a Breda receiver from Districorp some time back. There is undoubtedly some history to the receiver, but as it’s post-war any guilt I feel is minimized.
Breda receiver prior to being reparkerized
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Now, I’ve dedicated quite a bit of time to the Tactical SKS project (both at home and at the range) and now that it’s completed to my satisfaction I have once again turned my attention to a project thats been languishing for almost a year now. My “Frankengarand” project is slated to resume this coming week.
Thats right, my bastardization of a classic rifle is about to begin.
No I am not going to take a piece of history and “bubba” it for my entertainment. The “FrankenGarand” is, in fact, a mutt. Comprised of a Breda (Italian made) receiver, an aftermarket barrel and an assortment of worn parts from Breda, Beretta, Springfield and Winchester. The parts have seen better times, and were originally acquired (for the most part) when I rebuilt my 1942 Springfield M1.
The rifle is slated to be reparkerized, the aftermarket .308 barrel will then be installed, and finally the finished rifle will be dressed up in a Boyds pepper laminate stock. The end result will be, I hope, a fairly modern looking example of an M1.
I will of course strive to document the process from start to finish, in yet another longwinded series of “project updates”.