In 2002, we developed a stock finishing kit, a reblueing kit and a stock checkering kit – using mostly Winchester Model 67 .22 rifles for the various experiments. Gun-smithing classes for a few Employees were a logical spinoff, and became known as The Model 67 Project. In total, 46 Employees customized a .22 rifle, changing the perspective of all and the lives of some.
The classes met four hours a day, one day a week, for six months or so. The first step was to shorten the forend about 3", then dowel and glue on an ebony block; after which the tip was filed perfectly round – as viewed from the front and side. Then the transition from the round tip to the more square area of the receiver was filed. Lastly, the top rails were rounded, rather than being left flat. A rifle pad was installed, the point of the comb was re-shaped and flutes were filed in. A small grip cap was installed and the grip was thinned to match; then the toe line was reshaped and the butt area tapered from the pad to the new grip area. Sanding, sealing and filling the grain all preceded 20 coats of oil finish – hand applied.
Checkering was difficult and time-consuming. Practice checkering began in the first class, so the students would be ready to checker their stock after the finish had cured. For some folks, checkering came pretty easy, but for a few it was more like a nightmare. Every student checkered their stock!
Metalwork began while waiting for stock finish to dry. Making a new rear sight elevator from a thin strip of metal, was the first step -- what an interesting project! Each student stamped his or her name and the date on the bottom of the barrel. Barrels were shortened from 27” to 23”, which of course required filing a new front sight dovetail and crowning the muzzle. Polishing and blueing finished up the metalwork.
There were several other steps in the project, like glass bedding the action, gold plating the trigger, nickel plating the trigger guard and guard screws, jeweling the bolt, and a few other things – all designed to help the students learn something more about gunsmithing. These $100 Winchester Model 67s easily had a thousand dollars of labor added, but not a single student would sell their finished rifle for a thousand bucks.