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Back in the January issue I did an article entitled. "Winchester's Other Story" in which there appeared an illustration of an 8 gauge shell designed for use in a "kiln gun." That story has prompted a few letters from readers asking quesions like, "What's a kiln gun?" "Who makes them?" "How powerful are they?" And so on. These are interesting questions to be sure; ones to which I myself didn't know the answers. So...

Kiln guns are used to break up and dislodge buildup around the inner walls and mouths of rotary kilns--huge vats used in the processing of cement, aggregates, and refractory materials. As matter collects and hardens around the orifice, the flow is reduced to the point where it must be periodically broken away. The easiest and most practical way to accomplish the task is to shoot it out, literally, using these large shotshells loaded with slugs. Kiln guns are also used to dislodge metal buildup around furnace mouths; to bring down overhangs and ledges in quarry work; and for smashing old bricks when preparing to reline a refractory.

Anyway, the guns themselves (the Ringblaster Mark I and II) are manufactured by Winchester Division of Olin and consist of what could best be described as a simple artillery piece mounted on a modified channel beam. The action is a Martini type, i.e., a downward-pivoting breechblock, and is loaded single-shot fashion. Firing is by means of a lanyard attached to a spring-loaded striker mechanism. Aiming the piece requires a highly sophisticated procedure: bore sighting

The Ringblaster's 8 gauge shell looks like any normal 12 gauge hull loaded with a slug, except it's a little larger. Bore size measures a nominal .835 inch (as opposed to the 12 gauge's .729 inch and the 10 gauge's .775 inch), with an overall length of 3 inches. Specific loadings vary somewhat, depending on application, but generally consist of a single 1,250-grain projectile of either lead of zinc, loaded to either 9,000 or 7,500 foot pounds of energy. Velocity is not given in the specs but calculates to 1,800 and 1,650 feet per second (fps), respectively. There's also a double-ought buck (00) load available for use on softer materials such as silage buildup in grain silos.

Historically speaking, the 8 gauge was fairly popular in black powder days and wasn't considered as being overly large or powerful. It wasn't commercially loaded until about the mid-1920s. The top load listed back then was 2 ounces of shot over 7 drams of black powder.

Then there was the English 8-bore rifle or the Paradox-style guns of African and Indian fame that fired 1,250-grain slugs, with up to ten drams of black powder for 1,500 fps and 6,300 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.

So there you have it--everything you have ever wanted to know about kiln guns ...and then some, I'll bet! MAUSER-STYLE SAFETY

It has become quite fashionable these days to convert one's Mauser, either commercial or military, to the Model 70-type safety. One of the most entrepreneurial, if not the first, gunsmiths to really promote this conversation in earnest is Ken Jantz (Rt. 1, Sulphur, OK 73086). After offering his replacement Mauser sleeve for several years, Ken has expanded his offerings to include the Remington 700, Springfield '03 and '03-A3, Ruger 77 and, most recently, the Finnish Sako.

In all cases these safeties share the same basic operation; side-swinging levers located on the right of the bolt sleeve which, when engaged, positively lock the striker by holding it out of contact with the sear. It's probably the safest, surest system yet devised.

The original 98 Mauser and '03 Springfield safeties operated on the same basic principle as do the Jantz and similar conversions, except that the lever movement was radial to the bore axis and as such was unworkable with low-mounted scopes. With the side-swinging Model 70-type there's no such problem.

As a modification of an existing bolt sleeve, the Mauser unit is less expensive to make than the others which are machined from scratch. But even so, none of these conversions are inexpensiv. The two-position Mauser sleeve goes for $79.95; the others for $99.95. They do, however, add an undeniable custom touch to any rifle.

I've got one of Jantz's units on a Remington 700; it arrived in-the-white so I've got to get it blued, but I installed it just to try it out. It's a three-position model with the middle setting allowing the bolt to be cycled with the safety engaged. All the way back it locks the bolt handle. The lever movement is smooth and positive...and it looks as good as it works.

Jantz's Mauser unit is a two-position design, but by the time you read this his three-position unit will be ready, as will the Sako unit.

keep in mind that replacement and/or removal of the original side safety on a commercial Mauser, a Remington 700, or a Sako is going to result in an unsightly void at that place where the old safety was located, so it's best to consider these Jantz-type replacements for a rifle you're planning to restock.

For a detailed brochure giving the whole scoop on his side-swing safeties and other goodies, Ken asks for two bucks to cover costs and postage. FAJEN STOCKS

Here's another back-issue topic. Back in Last November's G&A I mentioned that I was trying to talk Reinhart Fajen into taking some of the weight-saving techinques he developed for his Lightweight Hunter stock and incorporating them into his Classic. Regarding the former, I didn't mind the dished-out right side of the buttstock but I couldn't live with the rather exaggerated monte Carlo and the hook-type pistol grip--though the latter could easily be filed away.

Well, I'm happy to say that Reinhart took up the challenge. When I called to order a semi-finished Classic stock in all-walnut laminate, he told me he had some ideas he wanted to try, but not to the extreme of dishing out the stock as he was doing on his Lightweight Hunter. I said fine, providing he didn't change the lines or proportions of my favorite handle by so much as a frog's hair.

When the stock arrived about three weeks later it had the same, elegant line and proportion I had gotten accustomed to all these years...but it was noticeably lighter. The only obvious thing i could see was the huge, undercut trough that had been hogged out under the barrel channel. The trough was tapered and proportioned to the outside dimensions of the force-end but in general shape it's 7-1/4 inches long, about 1 inch wide, and about 3/4-inch deep. It represented a lot of wood removal but I was pretty sure it wasn't enough to account for the lightness of the stock.

Sure enough, removal of the Pachmayr Presentation-grade rifle pad revealed four 3/4-inch diameter holes that had been drilled all the way through the butt to the pistol grip. The top and bottom holes were then plugged at the entrance with two 3/4-inch long hardwood dowels glued in place to provide purchase for the pad screws. Unscrewing the pistol grip cap revealed another hole with similar screw-holding arrangement.

Placing the stock on the scale, with grip cap and buttpad in place, the dial registered 1 pound, 15 ounces; that's 9 ounces less than an identical all-walnut laminated stock I have on one of my finished rifles but without the "Swiss-cheesing."

The way I see it, the strength of a laminate makes this "Lightweight option" as Fajen is going to call it, more feasible than with a one-piece stock, but Reinhart disagrees. He says it's just as applicable to a conventinal stock...and he certainly knows more about wood than yours truly!

Though it will not be officially listed until the printing of his next catalog, the lightweight option, as described above, will be available on all models in Fajen's extensive line of rifle stocks (and shotguns too) at an added cost of about $10. for his free Mini Catalog, write reinhart Fajen, warsaw, MO 65355. BALLISTIC TIP BULLETS

Ever since John Nosler and his son Bob introduced their Ballistic Tip bullets early this year I've been waiting for a nice day to try them out. Finallym one came in April.

For those not yet familiar with this latest development from the Beaverton, Oregon bullet makers, it could be described as a 1980s version of Remington's Bronze Point. The idea of using a hard material to form the nose of a bullet rather than simply having a small tip of the lead core exposed is nothing new; it's been the object of experimentation ever since the jacketed bullet appeared in the mid-1870s. The reasoning behind the harder-than-lead bullet tip is two-fold: 1) to protect the tip from peening on the front of the magazine under recoil, thus decreasing the ballistic coefficient and altering trajectory, and 2) to provide more consistent expansion. Consistent expansion is achieved by tapering the rear, unexposed portion of the bullet tip so that it acts as a

wedge to initiate expansion or "mushrooming."

The Bronze Point is but one variation; there's also Winchester's Silver Tip, Norma's Plastic Point, and CIL's Sabre Tip, the latter two being of a nylon-like material. Like I said: it's not a new idea.

For their Ballistic Tip, Nosler chose polycarbonate material-Lexan, to be specific--used in conjunction with their Solid Base bullets (not the Partitions). They're kinda sexy looking in that they are not only the most sharply pointed game bullets extant, but they're color coded as well--yellow in .270, red in 7mm, and green in .308 caliber.

Anyway, I chose to use my glass-stocked Ruger 77 in .284 Winchester to try out the new slugs because my standard load in that particular gun has been Nosler's 150-grain Solid Base. All I did was duplicate the load--57 grains of IMR 4831 and substitute the BT's for the Solid Base.

With the idea of checking for tip peening before firing each shot, I departed from my usual shooting-for-group procedure whereby I manually insert one round at a time, and simply stuffed four rounds into the magazine, plus one up the spout.

Thus far I've put eight five-shots groups through the gun, enough to conclude that these new Ballistic Tip Noslers are at the very least as accurate as the Solid Base bullets I've been using in that particular rifle, and probably more so. As for recoil peening, the tips of the third, fourth, and especially the last round in the magazine ...forget it. There was virtually no blunting of the meplat whatsoever, even on the fifth round.

Not only do these Lexan-tipped bullets keep their shape in the magazine, but their extremely sharp points result in ballistic coefficients (BC) higher than those of their solid Base counterparts. In the case of the 150-grain 7mm I used, the BC is .571 which figures .27 higher than the Solid Base's .544 inches.

On returning from my last safari I had eleven rounds which I had removed from the magazine of my 7mm JRS over a two-week period; they had been deformed enough that I didn't want to use them for anything but offhand practice. That's eleven rounds I wouldn't have had to demote had I been using these new Noslers.

Now I'll grant you that peened bullet tips are not a big problem in the North American fields; there just ain't that much shooting! But in the added durability afforded for day-to-day handling, loading and unloading, etc., these hard-tipped slugs are very practical. Varmint loads especially get banged around over the course of a season. With targets being small and far away, you don't need battered bullet tips to make things more difficult. If they're not doing it now, the Noslers should be looking into a 55-grain .224 and an 85-grain 6mm Ballistic Tip for '85.

Currently available are 130 and 150-grain 270s; 140 and 150-grain 7mms; and 150 and 180-grain .30s. Try 'em! You can write to them at P.O. Box 688, Beaverton, OR 975005.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:kiln guns, Mauser safety, Fajen stocks, ballistic tip bullets
Author:Sundra, Jon
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:column
Date:Jul 1, 1984
Words:2027
Previous Article:Federal .41 magnum cartridges.
Next Article:Sharpshootin'.
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