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Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:12 pm
by 81police
Be prepared to drool, I did. :shock:

This is not my rifle, I'm posting this for forum member Jack (jack1653). He has spent several months working on a project which is a VERY unique cased rifle set. His narrative with pictures is below. Be sure to post and tell him what you think about it!

Jack - Hello members and guests. Several of you have heard me talk about my “Project Rifle” and I am now ready to tell the story. The project has been in the works since March of 2010. It started innocently enough but like many of you, I saw some opportunities for this old gun before I ever had it in my possession.

I want to acknowledge all those who contributed to this project in parts, accessories, craftsmanship and advice. If I fail to mention you by name just let me know and I will gladly add you to the list of contributors. Those gentleman who had some part of this project are: Vincent Funaro, Loren Etter, J.J. Roberts, Roy Schumaker, Pete VerSchneider, Cameron Woodall, Bob and Jeff Pajtas, Joe Leaptrott and Tom McElwayne.

I was contacted by a gentleman in Tucson, Arizona asking if I might be interested in his rifle. We talked on the phone and he said he would send some pictures of the Grade 4 or D that he had decided not to repair. The repair that he was talking about was a missing stock. I told the gentleman that I would think about his offer and get back to him within a week.

The first two guys I contacted were Cameron Woodall and Pete VerSchneider to get their opinion about the Grade 4. These two gentlemen, as most of you know, are very knowledgeable, and I use their expertise when I am in doubt about the feasibility of my wild ideas. The first thing I wanted to know was, “How much is a Grade 4 worth without a stock?” Well my buddies came though like champs. They both said “Well it all depends!” I sent the pictures to Cam and Pete for review and assessment. We all agreed the rifle was in great condition except it didn’t have a stock and if I could buy it for the right price it would be a great rifle. While a replacement stock would not be the same as the original, if a new stock could be put on the rifle with the same quality as the original, it would be difficult to tell it wasn’t original.


After several phone calls and emails, the deal was made and I had my first Grade 4, albeit without a stock. I was happy with the purchase, even if it wasn’t complete.

When the rifle arrived, I was very pleased with the condition of the metal and the forearm. The metal had good bluing and the engraving was sharp. The forearm was in very good condition. There was a small split on the interior of the forearm on the hole which holds the takedown lever. I decided that I would have Tom fix the split by putting a good epoxy in the crack. I won’t have to worry about the stock splitting on the inside again.

The first task was to try and find a stock for the rifle. I received leads from the forum and finally found a firm in Iowa that provided the blank. I purchased an extra fancy black walnut pistol grip that was 90% complete.

I took the stock to Shooter’s Den of Georgia. Tom McElwayne is the owner and is also the gunsmith. It took some time for Tom to get the stock completed, but the wait was worth it. I was lucky in the meantime and had found a really great looking Grade 4 so now I had a pattern for Tom to use in completing the stock. Tom finished the inletting and fitting of the stock to the receiver. The stock was given 16 coats of Tru-Oil and Tom matched the color and finish to the original forearm. The stock is beautiful and was well worth the wait.

Tom had not done any checkering for several years and did not feel comfortable in taking on the “factory checkering”. He asked if he could get someone else to do the checkering and I agreed. Tom made the arrangements for the checkering and I paid a premium to be moved up in the delivery queue. Tom sent my Grade 4 stock with the stock to be checkered so the gentleman would have an exact copy of the original factory checkering on a Grade 4. Tom sent the forearm with the stock and made arrangements to have the forearm retraced.


While the stock was being prepared, the project came to a crawl. Sometime during that slow period I had the idea of creating something that would be unique. Since I knew that I would never sell the rifle as an all original because of the stock replacement, it was still a Grade 4 in the hard to find 25-35 old style round knob pistol grip, I decided to explore the possibility of getting multiple barrels for the rifle in the .30 and .32 calibers.

I called Pete to see if there would be any mechanical reason why different barrel assemblies would not work with the same receiver. Pete said that the barrel for the .35 and the .300 Savage could be interchanged on a receiver for those calibers and the barrels for the .25, .30 and .32 could be interchanged with the receiver for those calibers. He went on to explain about the differences in the springs between the .35 and .300 Savage from the springs for the .25, .30 and .32. I asked about the head spacing and he said that since the head of the cartridge for the .25, .30 and .32 were the same and there would be no problem with the bolt and head spacing.

I had to check with my other resource but for a different opinion about the project. I needed to know from Cam if what I was thinking would be outside the realm of practicality. I wanted to know if Cam thought my “Project Rifle” would be worth pursuing. I tried to explain what would be involved he said he thought it would be something unique. Actually, Cam said he couldn’t understand why anybody would want to take two barrel assemblies and have them engraved. In all honesty, I know Cam just hates to think of anybody altering in any fashion the original rifles. The project was now a definite go.

The next step in the process was to find two additional barrel assemblies for the rifle. I made some postings on the forum and started watching the auctions for a .30 and .32 barrel assembly. I remembered a .30 barrel assembly that I had purchased in December of 2009. The problem with this barrel assembly was that it was a barrel assembly from a FBI model 81. I called Cam to ask his opinion about using this barrel for the project. I think I darn near gave him a coronary at the suggestion.

After promising Cam that I would never do anything with the FBI barrel assembly, I was back to zero with the barrels. In mid July of 2010, I sent Cam an email and asked if he might know where I could get a .30 caliber barrel assembly. He said he didn’t know of any but offered an alternative. Thus starts the saga of the “Carriage Rifle”.

It seems my buddy, Cam, was planning a little surprise for his soon to be bride in November of 2010. He told me of his desire to do something special for wedding day in the form of a carriage ride for he and his bride after the wedding ceremony. He shared with me that he was keeping it a secret and he was trying to put together some loose cash to make it happen. He told me that he had a Model 8 in .30 caliber that would be ideal for my project. He said the barrel jacket was in very good condition with very little bluing left on the jacket.


The rest of the rifle was in good condition and since I needed some parts for some of my other rifles, I purchased the rifle and parted it out. I was able to fix several other rifles and had one barrel assembly for the project. I know how much Cam thinks of the Remington’s and for him to sell one of his rifles for the sake of love is a real sacrifice. I have met Cam’s wife and she is a beautiful lady and Cam made a good decision to sell the model 8. The “Carriage Rifle” is another reason why the “Project Rifle” is a labor of love.

With one barrel assembly acquired, I made a call to Jeff Pajtas of the S and S Huntclub. I had seen a posting on the Gun Broker web site. Jeff said he would look for a .32 barrel assembly and contact me if he found one. It took awhile but Jeff was successful and I had the second barrel assembly.

While the search for the barrels was progressing I was developing relationship with another visitor to the forum. This gentleman is a Master Engraver and has been doing the work for over 40 years. His name is J.J. Roberts and he lives in Manassas, Virginia. JJ and I had been exchanging emails and phone conversations about the model 8 and 81 for some time. I told JJ about my project and sought his advice on engraving the two barrel assemblies with the same pattern as the original barrel on the rifle. JJ described the process and suggested that I send the barrel assemblies along with the original barrel and forearm to his home for evaluation. It took a few weeks for JJ to complete the process of engraving and re-bluing the barrels. JJ’s work was excellent and you cannot tell the reproductions from the original. The outcome was magnificent and looks like the original factory engraving. I would encourage any of you to contact JJ Roberts is you are contemplating having any engraving done on your firearms. You can visit JJ’s web site to see some his art at


While all these activities were going on, I was contacted by Loren Etter in Minnesota. Loren and I had become friends as a result of the forum and I had purchased a Model 81 .300 Savage Krieger Conversion with two magazines from Loren. One day Loren contacted me with the following email: “Just bought this VERY VERY Rare Ideal reloading tool tonight. Thought you might like to see another part of collecting these fine guns. I expected this to sell for about $300 but didn't cost that much. Ideal #10 in 25-35 Rem Auto complete. These are even harder to find than the rifle.”

I told Loren that I knew nothing about reloading and didn’t want to expand my collecting into a whole new area of gun collecting. Well, several months went by and I decided that if I could get some accessories, the reloading tool might be a nice addition. Loren had changed his mind about selling the tool so I gave up on that idea for now. As luck would have it, Loren contacted me several months later and offered to sell the tool so it was purchased.


I now needed to find the dies for the .30 and .32. I turned to the forum for some advice and I got a lot of information. Several members provided detail information about what to ask for and I hope to find everything I need to purchase. The information from Norm was most helpful.

The building of the custom case to carry the “Project Rifle” was more challenging than I had envisioned. Again, I turned to the forum seeking input from the membership. I was given several leads but nothing seemed to meet what I was wanting. Joe Leaptrott took some extra steps to try and get a man he knew to do the work, but the fellow was backed up with work and declined the opportunity.

My desire to have the case made of American Black Walnut added to the challenge. I received quotes from several firms that I found on the internet but each had their own idea of what I wanted and the prices were outrageous. I was told by one firm that they could not assume the liability of building a case that would hold ammunition in the same case as the rifle.

Out of sheer frustration, I decided that I would build the case myself. It had been awhile since I had used the old wood working tools and I wasn’t sure if I still had the skills to do the work. The first thing I had to do was find some rough sawn walnut boards and boy was that a challenge. I made a trip to Illinois to visit family in mid August and I contacted a friend, Dr. Roy Schumaker. Roy came through for me and I bought several rough sawn five-quarter inch Black Walnut boards from his private stock. I was now ready to start the building of the final component for the “Project Rifle”.

There isn’t much to tell about this part of the project. Getting what was in my head transferred to the wood was a challenge. There were several trial and error cuts before the end result was attained. It took more time than I estimated and it didn’t take long before I remembered how hard it is to work with this beautiful wood.


Form fitting the barrels, forearm and receiver was a challenge. I tried several processes before I finally got the final result. I initially wanted to line the interior and I was conflicted about covering the beautiful wood with the crushed crimson velvet. I think I made the right decision by omitting the liner. If there is a negative to this case, it is the weight. At my age I may have to put wheels on it to move it. Total weight with everything in the case tops the scale at 50 pounds.





I know some of you must be wondering about the cost of this “Project Rifle” and that is perfectly understandable. There are tangible and intangible costs and will say it was worth all the costs. Are the costs recoverable? Maybe, but I doubt that I will try to sell this rifle. It is one of a kind and is not something many guys would find useful. I did keep a record off all expenditures associated with this project and can say I could have purchased several Model 8’s for what I spent on the project. Each part of the project involved several hundred dollars and I have spent less on other Grade 4 rifles. As each of you know, it is not the cost that really matters with these rifles or we would never have bought the first one.

I hope all of you enjoyed the story about my “Project Rifle”. It has brought me a lot of intrinsic satisfaction and pleasure. I have had the opportunity to do something special with a Remington Model 8 Grade 4. I was able to talk with many members about the project without ever disclosing the full story until now. The pictures do not reflect the real beauty of this project. It has been a labor of love and my way of getting something a little out of the ordinary. I would like to think the rifle would have a real practical application; one receiver with three different barrels in three different calibers. On the other hand I like to think of the rifle as just another Remington that is something special like all of the Remington’s.

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:17 pm
by Sarge756
All I can say Jack, "Lord that is beautiful". I have been anxious to ask you about the project since we traded emails and ideas about the case but knew you were steadily making progress.Knowing that photos were coming of the completed project has given me something to look forward to.Now the question is;Why would you have even considered having someone else build the case? Don`t think I have ever seen better worksmanship.Just like riding a bicycle,you havn`t forgotten any of your skills. What a wonderful and tasteful marrying of wood and accessories.You should be, and am certain you are very proud of this one of a kind project.Gives the rest of us a mark to shoot for. Thanks for the full story and your recognition of the assistance.

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:50 pm
by rem81auto
Real nice Jack

This is a great example of how I came up with the affliction " Jackitis " in honor of Jack. :lol:

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:13 pm
by ctgodog
Jack, that is absolutely,stunningly, awesome!!!!!!!!!!! What a wonderful one of a kind, diy project (with a little help from friends), and simply great idea!!! You should be very proud of yourself. Very unique and classy.


Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:42 pm
by texassako
That is really nice! Kind of like those shotguns that come with all the different barrel sets. I was thinking one receiver with multiple barrels would be neat with these, and somebody beat me to the punch plus much nicer than I would have put together. I was just thinking .25 for the varmints/plinking and .30 or .32 for the deer.

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:47 pm
by imfuncity
Drool. OUTSTANDING!! Drool drool.
Indeed, Jackitis has been raised to a new level. Way to go Jack.

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:40 pm
by d-2
You should be very proud. That is great and gorgeous work...d2

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:01 pm
by sighthound
Jack, you have done yourself proud and this Project Rifle establishes you as, "The True Connoisseur of The Finest". Doing it yourself means you care enough to spend your time, skills and effort to acheive perfection.
Well done Jack, an advanced case of Jackitis, there will be another mountain to scale and you will. Jerry

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:45 pm
by JJ Roberts
Jack,After seeing your Cased Project Rifle I'm know I have an Remington 8 or 81 in the vault that would be a perfect candidate for engraving,now you got me fired up.Do you mind if show this on to my fellow engraver on our forums? Jack I'm happy every thing fell together for you and glad I was of some help. :D J.J.Roberts

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:31 pm
by jack1653
Hey JJ,

I am glad to hear that you may try to engrave one of your rifles. If I had your talent and skill I would be doing several. I would be happy for you to use what ever you want for your forum and fellow engravers. I will wait with anticipation to see your "pattern". I may want to have you do a complete rifle for me.

Thanks again for your engraving for my rifle.

Kindest Regards,


Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:30 am
by jack1653
Hey Fellas,

I want to thank Corey Creamer for making the suggestion about the Project Rifle. His eye to detail is as good as Cameron Woodall. You can't slip anything by these guys. :lol: I knew about the rear sight issue, but never gave it a thought about what to do to fix the problem. Corey suggested that I go through my rifles and find three flip-up sights and put them on the barrels. There are several styles of flip-up sights so I had to decide which style to use. I was able to find three identical sights and I placed them on the barrels. Corey went on to suggest that I find three front sights that were identical using the same process and these were much easier to find than the rear sights. Both the front and rear sights can be easily adjusted using the set screws that are on each sight.

There is no question in my mind that Corey's suggestion, in his words, has made the Project Rifle very "cool" 8-) and the detail makes the rifles "pop". 8-) I want to acknowledge Corey's contribution to the project. :D



Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:54 am
by 81police
Jack's matching front and rear sights. If I had this cased set I'd want to leave it open on a desk top for everyone to see. What a conversation piece :D

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:54 pm
by imfuncity

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:02 am
by Adam Lee
Jack, I came to this post from another topic, and I must say I am glad to have done so. Fabulous example of old-world gunsmithing quality and your own personal vision!

I would consider your cased Remington project more than worthy of display in any quality firearms museum. I can easily imagine it taking a well-deserved place in the NRA's National Firearms Museum gallery collection. I don't mean to be "morbid" or anything, but if it were me, I would probably plan for such a treasure to make its way to some sort of worthy public museum in the long distant future.

I don't mean this for anything other than the fact that your custom cased spring-pole setup illustrates an amazing example of the uniqueness and rich history of firearms. What I believe this does for our future in continuing the passion for guns and the shooting sports traditions we care so deeply about cannot be overstated - you set a high standard, which will continue to inspire future generations of firearm lovers!

OK, ok - I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I was just voicing an opinion.
I hope everyone out there on this forum has a chance to visit the NRA's Firearms museum someday, I'm lucky that it is only a half-hour drive away from my house.


Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:11 pm
by Phyrbird
Incredible :!: :!:

WOW :!: :!:

Beautiful !!!

(More when I get to back in town)

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:52 am
by keltg
Only word that i can find to describe that is Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!!

Re: Jack's Cased Project Rifle!

Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:02 pm
by Roger
Hey Jack, all I can say is I'm envious of that set. Absolutely beautiful pieces for sure.