Montana Custom Gunmaking Seminar 2012

In late July 2012 Steven Dodd Hughes presented a six-day Seminar in his workshop in Livingston, Montana focused on creating custom rifles. The emphasis was on handwork and very few machine tools were employed during the class.

Designing and drawing a custom Rifle.
1) Drawing Group3+-

Lecture and demonstrations included: Designing and Drawing a Rifle Full Scale, with much discussion about historic and contemporary styles; Evaluation Stock Blanks, for quality, durability and character; Making Inletting Edge Tools, forging, filing, hardening and tempering; Stock Preparation and Finishing Techniques, discussing proper dry and wet sanding, sealing and pore filling: Metal Preparation and Finishing Techniques, including hand polishing, rust and nitre bluing. Pistol gripping a High Wall action was also demonstrated. All course work was presented as accomplished in a small shop environment.

Nick’s High Wall tang altered for pistol grip.
2) SDH Nick heating +121-

The three students, who came from 3 western states, brought their own gunstock projects to work on. The students first made their own inletting chisels and scrapers to use while working on their stock projects. One student accomplishing completed quality inletting a Ruger #1 to a poorly machined stock; Another perfecting bolt rifle inletting, hand bedding and installing a skeleton grip cap using hand tools; The third student completely inlet a High Wall action, with proper tang screw installation and installed a steel buttplate to a quality machined stock.

Choosing a stock blank for structural layout and beauty.
3) Stock layout 105+-

Each students project was used to demonstrate techniques to the other students and each phase was discussed with the group. The small size of the group allowed much individual attention.

Lee inletting a Ruger #1.
4) Lee inlettingaction 24+-

Robert installing a skeleton grip cap with a scraper made in class.
5) Scraping cap+ -

First time skeleton grip cap completed.
6) Finished cap inlett+-

Nick inletting a High Wall with bench made chisel.
7) Nick inlett close14+-

Ruger #1 inletted with bench made chisel.
8) Lee inletting close 19+-
Plans are being formulated for Beginning and Advanced Seminars for 2013. Another Seminar, Understanding and Appreciating Custom Guns and Gunmaking (for non-gunsmiths) may also be offered. To get on the list for 2013 classes please drop me an email: Participation is extremely limited.