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Gunsmith for oddball mounting problem?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 12:45
twofer View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Hi All,
 
I am hoping to get recommendations for a good gunsmith who can solve a scope mounting problem I have been struggling with, including one who is experienced in modifying off-the-shelf bases to fit a particular gun.
 
The gun in question is a Winchester 1885 High Wall reproduction in .325 WSM.  The gun has a relatively heavy octaganol barrel that is drilled and tapped for scope bases.  The scope is a Kahles Helia CK 3x9 - 42mm (1" body).  for the 1885 High Wall, the front mount is located on the barrel and ther rear mount is on the receiver.  The difficulty is that the mounting surface on the barrel sits much lower than the mounting surface on the receiver.
 
I've tried a few different mounts, and so far the best I can do is Weaver bases with Burris Signature Z-rings with the Pos-Align offset inserts.  Using the bases recommended by Weaver, I need a total of 0.060" of elevation gain to the front base to sight-in the scope.  This equates to 60" of adjustment at 100 yards.  I have verified this by shooting the rifle at my range with this set-up.  I have been achieving this large elevation change with a combination of shims under the base, the Burris offset inserts, and lots of elevation adjustment to the reticles.  I want to get rid of the Rube Goldberg shims, offset inserts, and large reticle deviation in order to make a more solid and dependable mount with the reticle close to the optical center of the scope.  Also, I can't simple jack the front base up 0.060" because the mounts will then be out of alignment, and I am back to needing the Burris Pos-Align insert.
 
My problem has been that there is not much demand for scoping an 1885 High Wall.  Most High Walls are used in Black Powder Cartdrige Rifle competitions, which requires a traditional iron sight sighting system.  Consequently, I have not found many scope base manufacturers which supply bases for my gun.
 
My preference would be for a single piece base and ring system like the Talley or DedNutz.  If I am unable to source/make such a mount, I would be happy with a Weaver base that properly fits my gun.  In either case, the scope mounting system should have the 0.060" of elevation built-in so I don't need shims, offsets or a large shift in the reticle.  Neither Talley nor DedNutz have off-the-shelf solutions.  Talley won't respond about making custom mounts or about supplying mounts that I can machine to fit my gun.  Dednutz says they would accept my rifle to machine a custom made mount, but they don't have an FFL so I think it is technically illegal to ship my gun to them for gunsmithing work. 
 
I think my best bet is buying a suitable Talley mount or Weaver base, and machining it to fit my maverick gun.  In other words, I need a mount or base that is taller than what I need so there is metal for a gunsmith to remove to fit my gun.  But which mount?  The simplest solution is probably buying a Weaver base "blank" and having a gunsmith machine in the appropriate amount of elevation to the blank.  I am not sure if a Weave blank has enough "meat" to accomodate the large height difference between the front and rear mounting surface my gun.  Another option would be to drill the barrel so that both mounts are mounted to the barrel, and then find a mount that would fit.
 
Does anyone know of a gunsmith that has experience modifying a scope mounting system to fit an oddball rifle like mine?
 
TIA.
 
--twofer
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 14:30
Horsemany View Drop Down
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Leupold and Burris both make bases that are blanks for a gunsmith to custom fit.  THey need to be drilled to match your hole spacing.  They will also need to be profiled and contoured on the bottom to match your receiver/barrel profile.  They are extra thick so the smith has plenty of material to take off for fitting.  This is a moderate job for any smith and most will be able to fit a scope base IME.
 
Have you checked the Unertly type bases that are commonly used on that style rifle?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 15:23
rifle looney View Drop Down
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Leupold, S@K, Coentrol, all make bases but they are all two piece and some need to be shimmed, if you want a one piece you will have to have it custom made I have looked in to this before. I shoot a sharps rifle not the same but this is why I have investigated.  good luck with your quest and let us know what you chose.    Big Smile

Edited by rifle looney - March/14/2009 at 15:23
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 15:30
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Optics GrassHopper
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Horsemany - Thanks for the suggestion on the Leupold and Burris base blanks.  I should have mentioned in my first post that I was hoping to avoid the dove-tail style mounts such as the Leupy and Buris.
 
Regarding the Unertl bases - Would I have to use the Unertl adjustable rings, too?
 
--twofer
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 16:33
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Optics GrassHopper
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rifle looney - Out of the mounts you have mentioned, i have tried the S&K.  It was a good looking mount, but I had the same problem of needing 0.060" inches of elevation.
 
--twofer
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 16:35
Horsemany View Drop Down
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If you would consider Kelbly benchrest style rings I know Davidson makes blanks that are thick solid machined aluminum.  If you're not familiar they are dovetail type rings with no cross slots.  The dovetail has much more surface area than a picatinny style though.  These would be easy to machine height on. 
 
The Unertyl mounts would require the rings which may only be available for their unique sized/shaped scopes.
 


Edited by Horsemany - March/14/2009 at 16:45
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 17:51
Sgt. D View Drop Down
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I don't know if you have been able to see any scoped 1885's, but this is usually what you see. I can work with my machinist and build a set of Dednutz if the length isn't too short for the tap set you have. But if you need to watch cost I suggest buying the base you want and have a local smith drill/tap for that base. Hopefully you will be able to use the set in the barrel. He can likely find some screws to fill the holes in the receiver. If you want me to look at building a set send me a PM and I get the details I need, these could run 120.00 to 225.00 depending on many variables. Look at these pics and see if you can live with another set of holes in your rifle.
 
 
 
 
Remember, you don't have to use dovetail. Your smith can match most any base pattern.
Let us know what you decide, Good Luck!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/14/2009 at 22:08
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Sgt. D, what kind of scope is that? It looks great on the 1885, like something Kevin Kline would have carried in Wild, Wild West. Is it typical of early scopes?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2009 at 08:16
twofer View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Sgt. D - Thanks for the photos of your beautiful old High Wall.  That is a very nice example of Winchester's finest.  How does it shoot?
 
Base on your photo, I am beginning to think that maybe the best option for me is to move the rear mount from the receiver to the barrel.  That would eliminate the large step-up to the receiver height that the mounts must now accomodate.  Maybe just a single Weaver rail machined to fit the barrel contour held on with 8-40 Torx head screws would be the best compromise between simplicity and reliability . . .
 
Below are some photos of how the scope is currently set up on my 1885 repro. 
 
 
The front base has 3 shims at 0.010" each.  The front ring has 0.010" upward offset with a set of Pos-Align inserts. 
 
 
The rear ring has 0.020" downward offset with it's own set of Pos-Align inserts. 
 
 
The scope reticle has 10" of upward elevation dialed in (equivalent to 0.010" upward offset at the front mount).  This gives the equivalent of 0.070" total upward offset to front base. 
 
The large difference between heights of the front mounting surface and the rear mounting surface forces the front base to be really tall and the rear base to be as short as possible.  As it is, the rear base could not be any thinner without losing its structural integrity.  Requiring the Pos-Align inserts limits me to a ring no smaller than the medium height because Burris doesn't make a ring capable of taking a Pos-Align insert in anything lower than medium height (I assume that a low ring would not have room for the rounded outer surface of the Pos-Align type ring). 
 
It appears all these restrictions would go away if I mounted a single-piece Weaver rail to the barrel.  I could have the rail machined to the correct angle so that no offset would be required to the base or the rings.  I could then use rings without the Pos-Align inserts becasue the single-piece rail would assure ring alingment.  I could then lap the rings for perfect final alignment and to firmly hold the scope without torqueing the scope or denting the scope's exterior.  Life would be sweet again . . .
 
Anyone have any comments or suggestions?
 
Thanks.
 
--twofer
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2009 at 09:08
armandiversace View Drop Down
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Nice rifle. I like the Idea of a Modern scoped 1885, I would like a new low wall in .243 with that same scope.
The three  .010" shims should go. Why use three shims when one .030" shim is
superior..The .030" shim could then be sized to the base and cold blued, may help on the rube goldberg issue.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2009 at 17:14
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Optics GrassHopper
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armandiversace - Thanks for the compliment on my 1885 repro.  It is a good looking and well made repro by Miroku.  Lot'sa fun to shoot, too.
 
The 0.010" shims were the thickest shims I could find without buying a ton of shim stock.  They were adequate for my kitchen table gunsmithing efforts, especially since they are only a temporary step while I work out a permanent solution.   Using the 0.010" step shims is what allowed me to figure out just how much elevation for the front mount I need.  I got them from Brownell's:
 
 
--twofer
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2009 at 17:31
Sgt. D View Drop Down
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Quote) It appears all these restrictions would go away if I mounted a single-piece Weaver rail to the barrel.  I could have the rail machined to the correct angle so that no offset would be required to the base or the rings.  I could then use rings without the Pos-Align inserts becasue the single-piece rail would assure ring alingment.  I could then lap the rings for perfect final alignment and to firmly hold the scope without torqueing the scope or denting the scope's exterior.  Life would be sweet again . . .Quote)
 
 
That is the way I would go, especially if you have someone who can mill the base to fit.
Sorry guy's, that is pics I had from some shop rifles and I didn't look at the scope at the time.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2009 at 17:59
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I would give Conetrol a call. I don't see where shimming bases would be necessary on a stock High Wall. I think George Miller and company could give you good information on any 1885 mounting issues.
Conetrol makes very attractive mounts that would compliment that fine Winchester.
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