Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

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jack1653
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Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by jack1653 »

I want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to 81police for his assistance in getting the pictures re-sized and posted for me. I also want to acknowledge Joe Leatroptt, Sarge756, and his machinist, Joe Keefer, for their assistance and excellent work that contributed to the success of this project.


Several years ago I had purchased a FN 1900 that had come from a firearm dealer who had the rifle on consignment from the original owner who had brought it to the USA from Germany. The rifle had been customized and had a beautiful Monte Carlo stock. The receiver had been fitted with a Stoeger mounting bar which the owner said had been done at the FN factory in Belgium. Upon examination of the mount I could see that the mounting bar had the same embossing as the rib on the barrel of shroud of the rifle.

If you go to the link I have provided, you can read about the process I went through in trying to learn more about the mount and scope that may have been on the rifle. You can read threads from other members who provided pictures and advice about the scope and mount. I spent around 18 months searching the USA and Europe for the needed items to no avail. I contacted Griffin and Howe who said that they could fabricate the scope mount and rings but I felt the cost was way out of line so I declined their offer. I would still have to find a period correct scope and I had already searched reliable sources for scopes with no positive results. I decided at that time that I had a unique FN and put it in the safe with the other FN’s. This is the link to read about this FN: https://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsociety ... 2c1faa1bd1

Things got a little slow for me this summer because of a slow recovery from extensive neck surgery and fusion of 7 vertebrae. I was limited in doing a lot of normal activities so I was not doing a whole lot. I had been texting with a Forum member who was telling me of some of the catch up work that he was doing. I received some pictures from Joe (Sarge756). He shared pictures of restoration of handguns and rifles that he had done. The work was outstanding. One of the pictures prompted me to look through the Forum for the FN 1900 posting that I had made 12 years ago. When I read the thread I thought I might try a different approach to resolve the issues with that FN. I sent Joe a text asking if he remembered the customized FN 1900. I asked him if he would review the topic and give me some options to consider to get the rifle fitted for a mount and some options for “any” scope that I could put on the rifle.

That question was like saying “sic-em” to a possum dog! Joe was all over the question like white on rice and I started receiving all kinds of options and suggestions to consider. Since I did not have a good understanding of what was going to be required I suggested to Joe that he tell me the best option and I would follow his lead. That was what we agreed to do and Joe made the process from that point on very easy for me to do.

Not to over simplify the process to completion let me say my part was very easy. I had to buy the scope, which Joe had already found on Ebay. That was stroke of good luck and perfect timing. The picture of the listing from Ebay showed a bid of $246.50 with 8 bids received and 3 days remaining. I submitted my bid which was immediately countered so I waited a until the last day and bid again, again, and again. It was a real nail biter because Ebay does not have a time extension if a higher bid comes in. With 5 seconds left I won the auction just short of a thousand dollars. When i told Joe I had bought the scope he said I did good even if it was on the high end. I figured that I had been looking for 12 years and may not have another opportunity. The old “jackitis” had kicked in and I wasn’t going to be denied.

Joe was more excited than I was because it was period correct and had been made in Germany prior to World War I. This was the same time frame that the FN was manufactured. As it turned out the scope has a windage adjustment on it which was not available on most early vintage scopes. The rear ring is dovetailed and can move left or right with the screw and the smaller locking screw on the end of the mount. These two screws can be seen in the two closeup pictures that are included. This was only on the early mounts to make them compatible with scopes like this one. The Zielklein only had an elevation adjustment. It will take some experimenting to get it zeroed but Joe said it can be done. Joe said this windage adjustment was a real plus. The scope rings and bar are from Griffin & Howe. The scope was made by Carl Zeiss Jena and the model is Zielklein Nr.53871. The optics are very good and clear with a post reticle. Joe said he wanted to see how close in measurement and angles the rail is on the rifle to the Griffin & Howe rail. Joe said the existing rail length is shorter but didn’t think it would be an issue. I had sent Joe a picture with a machinist ruler on the rail before he had the receiver. Joe said he thought the the existing rail on the receiver could be modified to the correct width and angle, cutting the half moon notches for the locking levers and some spot bluing and the project would be done.

The next thing I had to do was send the rifle to Joe. When I inquired to Joe about getting the rifle to him, he told me to just send the receiver and I could save some dollars on shipping and wouldn’t have to worry about damage to the rest of the rifle. I disassembled the rifle and sent the insured package via the USPS. Since the package was insured it had to be signed for. The package was delivered on a Sunday and there was no one to sign for it so the good old USPS left the package on the neighbors mailbox across the street from Joe. Needless to say that caused some heartburn with Joe. Joe and I had a good chuckle from that incident.

Over the next several days, Joe sent me several pictures and texts about how the work was proceeding. I told Joe that it wasn’t necessary to run everything by me because I didn’t know what the process of milling involved and to do what he and the machinist thought needed to be done. I am sure that it made it easier for both of these excellent craftsman. The machinist told Joe he was concerned about the width of the mounting plate that was on the scope might interfere with the ejection of the spent cartridge. He told Joe that he would redesign a whole new plate. He said it would be made out of 6061 grade aluminum (same as used in AR receivers. He told Joe that after a multitude of measurements, milling, drilling, tapping and hand fitting the plate appeared from a solid bar of aluminum. It is a very solid mount and is easy to put on the mounting bar that is on the rifle which also had to be milled to accept the new dove-tailed plate.

When Joe got the work completed, he told me how good it looked and was very pleased with the finished product. I will let Joe tell you about the leather scope dust protector that protects the glass in the scope and what he did to restore the leather. The end result is difficult to see but I will tell you that you can not tell it is over a hundred years old! Joe said he would revise his estimate of the leather covers. He said the cover is in great condition and stamped with the name of the scope,“Zielklein”.

On Tuesday, September 13th, Joe sent me a text saying that the package was in the mail with expected delivery on September 17th. I made certain that I would be around the house to sign for the delivery so that it would not end up on the neighbor’s mailbox.

Most of the pictures are self explanatory. I am having some difficulty in adding comments below each picture but if there are any questions about what the picture is, please ask and I will be happy to provide an explanation.


This is the Stoeger mounting bar that was on the rifle when I purchased it. This bar had to be milled to accept the mounting bracket and rings.
This is the Stoeger mounting bar that was on the rifle when I purchased it. This bar had to be milled to accept the mounting bracket and rings.
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Sent from my iPad
Last edited by jack1653 on Tue Sep 20, 2022 5:30 pm, edited 15 times in total.

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81police
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

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81police
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

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81police
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

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81police
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

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81police
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by 81police »

Jack, this project is very special. Getting a vintage, and super rare rifle, back to a near identical original configuration. I love the way it's mounted and the pre-war scope. That is a slick looking setup. The original owner must have been 1) wealthy, and 2) cherished this rifle. So glad it's in the hands of another owner who cherishes it equally! Thanks for the write up and photos friend. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :shock: :shock: :o :o :D :D
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Sarge756
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by Sarge756 »

What a great opportunity to assist Jack with scratching an itch that had been bugging him for years. A small payback to someone that has done so much for all of us here. It was fun finding a proper scope for this fine rifle and figuring how to get it mounted. My bud Joe is a wizard at solving problems and is a true perfectionist and craftsman. Have but one confession to make however. Joe had helped me with a restoration of a Model 14 in 32Rem just prior to Jack reaching out about the FN. We had used a G&H mount on it for a Texan scope and it worked perfect. I saw that with slight modification to the rail on the FN that the same type mount would work. Luck that the listing for the Zeiss Lieklien and a G&H side mount came up when it did .When everything arrived Joe and I got together and planned how to proceed. I was correct that only slight mods were necessary and I left everything with him to do in a few days. That night late at the bench reloading 32 Rem for the 14 the dim light in my head came on. OOPS! We had neglected to consider the empty brass being ejected straight up. Boy! Talk about a case of not seeing the forest for the trees !! Panic phone call and message left for Joe to not start work until we talked. Of course the next morning he hadnt seen the message and called to tell me it was ready. Had to explain that the little detail of the angle that the brass is ejected I forgot would be a problem. He started work on it again and came up with the plate design to offset the scope to clear the brass using a piece of 6061 grade aluminum the same as used for AR15 receivers. Result is strong and perfect. Can`t wait to see results of the range session. Wish I was up there on the farm again to take part.
Joe
".......ain't many troubles that a man cain't fix
With seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six."

MinnesotaDan
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by MinnesotaDan »

This is a great story of a collaborative effort to make this FN rifle the best it could be. Thank you for taking the time to share it. The people in this hobby, and on this website, are just fantastic. Well done, gentlemen!

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81police
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by 81police »

I really like the leather scope covers. The question is now, is Jack planning on shooting it????
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jack1653
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by jack1653 »

I do plan on shooting the rifle. I will be heading out to the farm when the weather is a little cooler. I have to see if I can get it zeroed in. I have a portable gun vise which will help with getting the sight zeroed in. The way that Joe had the scope mounted allows for using the iron sights. When I free hand the rifle to shoot using the scope I notice that my cheek does not make contact with the Monte Carlo stock. I told Joe that may be a problem with the recoil and will probably result in a hard recoil to the shoulder. I have to see if I can get the bullet on paper using the scope. The adjustment screws on the scope ary very small so it will be a challenge. I will not be hunting with this rifle in Illinois because of DNR restrictions.

canuck
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by canuck »

Super cool Jack!
That was a very worthwhile endeavor

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Hibby83
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by Hibby83 »

Sweet looking FN, great work done all around! Good job networking and sourcing what was needed in getting it back to dual sight shooting status.

I keep perusing the 1900 section here and there waiting for the day I can find the right one to make my own.

Bullpupone
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by Bullpupone »

Joe is a good guy and easy to work with. I purchased my 1927 Model 8 in 35 cal from him this past year, when I was on dialysis and awaiting for my kidney transplant (Covid sucks). I don't know if he used some of skills on it, or if it was just in great shape, but it looks real good and is accurate too.
BP-1

ranman
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Re: Scope For A FN 1900 Found And Mounted

Post by ranman »

Awesome looking rig, shooting period correct optics on springpoles is loads of fun. Thanks for the background.

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