ANOTHER WHEEL-LOCK ADVENTURE

WE’RE GOING TO SHOW PHOTOS OF THIS LATE RESTOCKED  AUSTRIAN WHEEL-LOCK AS IT BUILDS. I SAY LATE RESTOCKED AUSTRIAN BECAUSE THE LOCK IS AN EARLY ONE WITH SQUARE BACK. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY USED IN A CHEEK-PIECE RIFLE. IT IS AUSTRIAN IN STYLE, VERY TYPICAL OF THE CLASS. WE WILL PRETEND TO RESTOCK THE LOCK AND BARREL, ALTHOUGH REALLY, ALL PARTS ARE NEW.

I HAD ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO SHOW THE PLANK AND THE PILE OF PARTS THAT THE GUN STARTED WITH BUT LOST SOME OF THE PHOTOS SOMEHOW. I WILL SHOW WHAT FEW I HAVE LEFT. SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT THE GUN STARTED WITH AN EXPENSIVE EUROPEAN WALNUT PLANK. FIRST STEP WAS TO BANDSAW IT TO ROUGH SHAPE, THEN INSTALL THE BARREL, THEN THE LOCK.

HERE ARE  A FEW PHOTOS SHOWING THE ELEGANT PARTS THAT WILL COMPRISE ITS SUIT OF FURNITURE.  THE CASTINGS ARE BEAUTIFUL, BUT COME FROM AN EARLY AUSTRIAN JAEGER, APPROPRIATE FOR THIS RE-STOCKED  RIFLE. MANY WHEEL-LOCKS ARMS WERE MADE WELL UP INTO THE FLINTLOCK ERA. SOME OF US JUST LIKE OLD WELL-PROVEN THINGS, INCLUDING GUNS AND WOMEN.

THE EUROPEAN WALNUT CAME AS A PLANK. TALK ABOUT EXPENSIVE! THE PHOTO LEFT BELOW SHOWS THE RIFLE CUT, ‘IN THE SQAURE’ WITH A BANDSAW, THE LOCK-PLATE AND BARREL IN PLACE, THE MIDDLE PHOTO SHOWS THE BEGINNINGS OF THE INLET AND THE SWAMPED BARREL INLETTED. THE BRASS FURNITURE ABOVE AND  LOCK BELOW ARE QUITE ELEGANT.  THE CASTINGS ARE TAKEN FROM ORIGINALS.  THY ARE ALSO QUITE DETAILED AND WILL REQUIRE A LOT OF CARE TO INLET PROPERLY.

THE RIGHT PHOTO ABOVE SHOWS WHAT THE ASSEMBLED LOCK WILL LOOK LIKE, AT LEAST IN PART, IN THE FULLY SHAPED STOCK. THE MIDDLE PHOTO SHOWS THE FIRST FEW CUTS ON THE WAY TO GETTING THE LOCK INLETTED. THE LOCK IS SO COMPLEX THAT EACH PAST HAS TO BE MOUNTED THEN INLETTED SEPARATELY. MORE PHOTOS TO FOLLOW ON THE INLETTING JOB.

THE RIFLE IS NOW FINISHED

The barrel is browned, the iron furniture is antique rust blued. All the screws are fire blued.  The brass castings had to be de-burred, finish filed, then polished, carefully, to keep the detail without blurring it out.

The patchbox locks and slides open.  The cheekpeice is low, but then the butt is pretty broad to compensate.

Cock the lock with the spanner in a clockwise direction, about 3/4ths of a turn. The trigger pull is soft and the wheel snap is sudden and loud. Fire is instant.

Pyrites or flint were used in the jaw of the cock in the old days, but require adjustment with every shot. A modern improvement is 2-3 strike-lites cast into a block and fixed in the jaws of the cock.

The castings are just beautiful, twice the cost of ordinary castings but well worth the expense in artistry.

I hope the same can be said for the carving and engraving. There is a line of poetry on the barrel upper flat’ “Quick of hand, sharp of eye, let him who wields me be, to get the game, win the prize and keep this land of liberty”