gunsmithing and accurizing tools


Gunsmithing and accurizing tools for gunsmiths and long range shooters

Click on subject in table below to learn more.


Accurizing Kits
Inletting B/G Kokopelli
Products

1-406-755-3220


Home of Jerrows
Inletting Black
Mr.B's Twister
Scope Bars Barrel Spider
Lapping Bars Hammers


A LITTLE HISTORY - 1996

Kokopelli Products, the quiet little company from the mountains of northwest Montana has several new products for the shooting community. Though few know this company by name, most know of at least one of its products, Jerrow's Inletting Black .

Inletting Black has been sold through catalog outlets since about 1963 and is found on the shelf in virtually every gunsmith and stock maker's shop in North America. It is also being used by most of the arms manufacturers. The primary use of Inletting Black is in the hand fitting of barrels and actions into the gun stock. After nearly two years of development, John Werre, owner of Kokopelli Products, in 1996 announced a new inletting compound, Jerrow's Inletting Gold, a bright yellow color intended for use on the very dark colored woods such as Claro Walnut and Ebony. It shows up very well on these woods and has been thoroughly tested by some of the top stock makers in the country. Like Inletting Black, Inletting Gold's color will not soak into the wood and it will not dry out in use.

Kokopelli also announces their Kokopelli Scope Bars and Kokopelli Lapping Bar.
These products have seen extensive testing in the field for the past several years, but have not been offered for general sale until now. Scope Bars are a unique, affordable tool for testing the alignment of scope rings and bases. Misalignments as small as .002" can be readily detected. Whether you're a hunter, target shooter, varminter or a 1000 yard shooter you can benefit from using Scope Bars. They take the mystery out of proper scope installation and will save you the heartache of a ruined or damaged scope by showing exactly whether the rings are lined up or if you need the services of a gunsmith to correct a serious problem. Detailed instructions make for easy use by anyone who can handle a screwdriver. A patent is pending.

The Kokopelli Lapping Bar allows the average gun owner or the expert gunsmith alike to achieve that final, perfect fit of a rifle scope in its rings. That perfect fit is absolutely necessary for getting top performance from your scope. Like all of Kokopelli's tools, the Lapping Bar is easy to use and will deliver results for beginners or experts alike.

Reports back from working gunsmiths indicate that bedding the rifle scope properly by use of Kokopelli's Scope Bars and Lapping Bar has corrected accuracy in several rifles that had failed to respond to numerous accurizing procedures.

Take a look through our web site. Check out all of Kokopelli 's Products. You will find that they are unique and innovative, but above all they work! Kokopelli takes pride in making tools that fit right, feel right in your hands and work as they are intended.



A LITTLE MORE HISTORY

I hope none of you will find this narrative to be too boring. It will serve to give you an idea of how Kokopelli Products came into being and a little of my background as well. You can always just skip it if you wish.
Kokopelli Products was originally started as Kokopelli Health Concepts, selling Chinese herbs and other natural products for better health. That name was changed to Kokopelli Products in 1994 when I purchased the rights to Jerrow’s Inletting Black from my long-time friend, Joe Bergsieker, a somewhat hard-boiled German. It’s interesting to note how so many folks of German ancestry have ended up in and around the gun business. Maybe the interest in the technology of it comes through in the genes. I can only speculate on that one, but it is interesting. After he retired from the refrigeration business, Joe became a late-in-life gunsmith. He could build a beautiful rifle. He cut his teeth on Gunsmithing in his father-in-law’s shop making barrels in the 50’s. That was John Buhmiller, a barrel maker of legendary repute, another old German. John made quality cut-rifled barrels and during the Korean War there were Army guards posted at his shop. Presumably he was making sniper barrels for the military, I truly don’t know, but since his shop was within the travel area of a young boy, I saw those guards. By the way, it was John Buhmiller who gave me my first motorcycle ride at the tender age of ten. He owned two Vincent Black Shadows and that was my very first ride, one I have never forgotten. I’ve loved the Vincents ever since, but have never had the good fortune to own one, though I’ve owned quite a few motorcycles over the years. John and his wife were good friends of my mother and there are a few good stories there, too. I have made a number of special tools for personal use working on my old air-cooled BMW’s and hope to soon manufacture a few basic and special tools for use on these fine old machines. Stay tuned on that one.

Joe helped me to find my first lathe and taught me how to use it. At least that’s what I told everyone. In actuality, when it came time to do a job he would just give me a very brief description of what to do and then say, ”You won’t have any trouble!” He also told me that I would make lots of mistakes, but not to worry about such trivial things, it was experience that would really teach me. That was the best advice he handed out. I did get a little book called “How to run a Lathe” from South Bend Tool Co. with that little 9” South Bend toolroom lathe and that, along with a lot of mistakes, is how I really learned how to run a lathe. I’m still learning.

My very first project was a crossfeed lead screw for an old Sebastion shaft lathe I had bought to rebuild and sell. A great way to learn about machines is to tear into rebuilding one. I did rebuild that lathe and doubled my money on it. Paying for my labor was another issue entirely, I likely only made about a buck an hour for my time. You always pay for your education one way or another.

I started making brass head hammers as a first venture using two designs of Joe’s, the small round and the medium round hammers. I dressed them up quite a bit from the utilitarian hammers that Joe made and they sold well. I added the tapered models of my own design and then the Big Beater. All were ergonomically designed to “feel” right in your hands, the balance and swing being such that hitting what you’re aiming at is easily accomplished. All sold well until the influx of the really cheap stuff from China. That’s when I found out that very few folks will buy quality if there’s a cheap alternative around. Porsches cost more than Volkswagens and even though the Porsche is a bit nicer to drive they aren’t on the streets in large numbers. It’s a cost thing. The “Mr. B’s Beaters” hammer line was named after my good friend, Joe Bergsieker. The “Mr. B’s Twister” screwdriver sharpener was another design of his which he just gave me, a truly generous man.

Right away in 1994 I started working to develop another color for inletting dark woods and accomplished that in 1996 with the introduction of Inletting Gold. I had a couple of local stockmakers test it, Jerry Fisher and Mel Smart. By then I had come up with new bottles with printed-on labels and solved the leakage problems of the old style caps and seals.

The idea for the Scope Bars came about in 1994, too, and it was Joe, who had a working gun shop, who initially tested them for me. I applied for a patent in early 1995 and received it in September 1998. The idea came as a revelation of about 15 seconds or less while looking through a Brownell’s catalog. I saw the pointed alignment bars that they were then, and are still, selling and almost instantly said to myself, “That can’t work!” I was always good at Geometry, Trigonometry and mathematics and made my living for a number of years using math every day as a Resident Surveyor in the Civil Engineering Unit of the Bonneville Power Administration.. It was instantly apparent to me that bringing two points together will tell you absolutely nothing about the axial alignment of the two shafts having the points. There is a missing element. The mere act of bringing the points together also bypasses any possible testing. The points can be brought together at any angle up to 90 degrees and tell you nothing about axial alignment. There is no possible way to determine axial alignment unless you add another element to the mix, such as a straightedge laid along the sides of the bars. Bringing the points together in no way corrects any problems in the mounting system. More on this subject in the sections to follow.

The Lapping bars came about soon after the Scope bars. It was apparent that no one was making a lapping bar that would lap anything more than the bottom half of the rings and they were made of rolled stock and only a very short stroke was possible, rapidly wearing out the bar due to the limited area of use. I did something entirely different. I designed the bar to be used with the top halves of the rings in place and utilizing a long stroke thereby distributing the wear over the entire length of the bar which is 12” long. Why just do half a job? Another problem was that the lapping compound would readily scrape off the bar, slide around and wear the bar out as fast as the rings. I added the spiral groove to stop the scraping off of the compound and later changed to a much softer steel and put a very rough, but carefully designed finish to accept the lapping compound, actually allowing the grit to be driven into the surface of the bar. The nasty, scruffy rough finish is full of grooves and valleys of a depth designed to “catch” the very sharp lapping compound, imbedding it into the bar. Once the grit is stuck in the bar, the bar will wear but little. You then will wear out what you’re trying to lap rather than wear out the bar at the same time. The spiral grooves also cannot “catch” on the edge of the scope rings as can one which has annular grooves cut perpendicular to the axis of the bar in separate “rings.” I have very good reasons for every unique feature of my tools. They are not made haphazardly. Every aspect has a valid design behind it.

The Accurizing Kits came along in early 1997, I think. I spent my time up until then learning how to machine and equipping my shop with another, larger lathe and a mill-drill. I also did quite a bit of travel to gun shows, testing acceptance of my tools. I was also trying to learn something about marketing, etc. Kokopelli Products has always been, and still is, a one man operation. I make all the tools, take the phone calls and sweep the floor. I also make my own lunch and take all the blame if something goes wrong. When you call with a question you will be “talking directly with the horse.”

The shop has steadily changed with the addition of better machines. An old Cincinnati Tray Top lathe which I have rebuilt completely has been crammed into my small shop. It still looks old, but is mechanically nearly perfect. I traded the 14”X40” Taiwan lathe in on a 12” Logan turret lathe which has speeded up the production of the Scope Bars a bit. I also got rid of the mill drill, replacing it with an older Bridgeport which has been rebuilt and now runs to only .0005” on the table. The Logan has also been gone through and has a total end-play plus spindle side-play of only .0006”. I’m probably better at rebuilding machines than I am at running them. Back in the early 60’s I learned how to test, adjust and repair surveyor’s transits and levels and that training has served me well as all of it applied directly to the testing, adjusting and rebuilding of machine tools. It is also directly applicable to the testing and alignment of scope mounts.

I learned quite a lot about optics during my years as a surveyor. I specialized in control surveys working from USGS monuments on mountain tops to establish control points along proposed power line routes. We used helicopters and electronic distance measuring equipment along with some very high quality Swiss theodolites, made by Wild. They were only 24 power, but the resolution of the lenses was incredible. Of course, they used no erecting lenses to maximize that resolution so everything seen through them was upside down and backwards. I wonder when someone will make a target scope without an erecting lens? An example of how good resolution can be is this: I once turned angles to a 2x2 post, only 1 ˝” wide, on a mountain top, at a measured distance of seven and a half miles! It was a clear late winter morning, temp about freezing, the target outlined against the blue sky, absolutely perfect conditions. We had waited four months to close that survey because of stormy winter conditions. We normally used four foot wide targets at such distances, but the winter storms had shredded the target, leaving only the post. I thought I could see it, so turned the angles while I waited for the other crew to be helicoptered to the top of the mountain. When they arrived, I checked by radio to make sure I had been seeing the post and they confirmed it. The closing angles of the survey also confirmed I had turned angles to the tiny post. The measurement confirmed the horizontal distance to be seven and a half miles. Now that’s resolution! The Swiss really know how to build ‘em!

Enough about the history of it all, let’s have a look at why bringing the points of the pointed-type alignment bars together tells you absolutely nothing about the axial alignment of the scope rings.



WHY POINTED BARS DON'T WORK

I suspect that the pointed bars were developed by someone who used a lathe. In that environment the 60 degree taper of turning centers in the tailstock and headstock give a rough idea of whether the head and tailstock are in horizontal alignment. The vertical alignment of the headstock and tailstock to the bed of the lathe is determined during manufacture. After that the only adjustment possible is the side-to-side movement of the tailstock. However to be truly aligned you need to employ some other tools, such as a dial indicator.

When you put a set of so called alignment bars with 60 degree points into a set of scope rings all hell breaks loose because they are not in a controlled environment such as being locked to a lathe bed. They can now be angled in virtually any direction and it is absolutely impossible to determine anything about the axial alignment with pointed bars. You can easily prove this to yourself with the following little test: If you have a set of the pointed bars get them out and lay them on the table. If you don’t have a set just use a couple of pencils or ball point pens. Lay one of the bars at the 9 o’clock position and one at about 1 o’clock, points to the center and touching. Now swing the 1 o’clock bar down, keeping the points close together and try to determine when the two bars come into exact alignment with each other. For a little extra fun get your wife and kids to join in. Good luck! You’ll save a lot of frustration if you give up early, ‘cause it can’t be done. If you’re still not convinced find a teenager, they know everything, right? Find one who has had at least one semester of Geometry and ask him, or her, if one can determine the alignment the vertical axes of two equilateral triangles which are aligned point-to-point. There is no other information, just the two triangles coming together at one of the points of each triangle. See what they say. Or, just show him, or her, the pointed bars or pencils and ask about the axial alignment. With no other external information you have absolutely no way to determine anything about the alignment of the vertical axes. The only thing that can be determined is whether the points come together. They can be aligned any which way and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to tell you when they come into alignment.

The instructions and the sales ads for the pointed bars say, ”Bring the points together and your rings will be in perfect alignment horizontally and vertically.” WRONG!!! TOTALLY WRONG!!! They tell you NOTHING!! The snake oil salesmen are still alive and well, folks. The pitch is still the same. You believe what you are told for two reasons. One, you have a tendency, as I do, to trust what people say. Second, you want the item to do what you desire, so you believe that it will perform as you want it to perform when someone tells you that it will indeed do just that. The pointed bars will only tell you if the points come together, nothing else! Caveat Emptor! You could place a short straight edge along the sides and then along the tops of the bars to get some sort of an idea if they are in alignment. You must add another element to the equation to have any chance of determining axial alignment. See Photos below for a typical alignment of pointed scope alignment bars. They look really good, don’t they? I couldn’t get them any closer. The truth is they SUCK!! Keep reading.





WHY THE KOKOPELLI SCOPE BARS WORK

My scope ring alignment bars work differently. They are flat on the ends. That’s the missing element in the pointed bars. If you look at Photo, below left, you will readily see that the bars actually are a three dimensional projection of each ring “hole”. You’re looking at a solid representation of the hole through the ring. Put one bar in each ring and you can then compare the “holes” to each other. Comparing the “holes” is comparing the axes of those holes, the axial alignment. If the ends match and are flat together you have reconstructed the bars into one and the alignment is PERFECT. (Photo, below right) That’s it! An exact, true, three dimensional look at what’s going on with the receiver, bases and rings. “Dirt simple and deadly accurate.”



The drilled hole in the end of one bar enables you to mount a rod that again projects the axis of the hole so that you can check alignment of the front ring to the barrel or bore. Any misalignment is readily apparent. If your front ring is of the dovetail type it’s a simple matter to align it to the bore by eye, Photo, below left. The ability to align is determined by the type of mount, but at the very least, you can tell what the alignment or misalignment to the bore actually is. Once the front ring is aligned you test the rear ring by sliding the ends of the Scope Bars together. The slot in the rear bar enables quick access to the base screws for “shimming" of the base for a quick left or right adjustment. A windage adjustable type of rear ring can just be moved over for horizontal alignment. A dovetail-type ring is just rotated to align or the base may be “shimmed.” Incidentally, never adjust the windage screws after the scope is in place! To do so will just bend the scope tube unless you have carefully lapped the front dovetail so that it turns freely. Some of those dovetails take as much as 15 to 20 lb. ft. of torque to rotate. Your crosshairs will “walk” forever while the tube tries to relieve the stress. Again, the ability to adjust is only limited by the type of mount system. If the bars don’t align vertically, such as in the Photo, below right, you can try reversing one ring at a time to see how that affects the alignment. Nearly perfect alignment of the bars, Photo, below center, was accomplished just by reversing the rings, turning them around. Once things are as close as you can get them it’s time to lap to get that final perfect fit. There are two full pages of instructions included with Scope Bars to help you to get the best alignment. Lapping before getting the best alignment might turn into a very long job indeed and rings can be “used up” in the process.



By the way, the depression of the bars as shown in Photo, above rignt, about .030” bottom gap, can, depending on the length of your scope tube, become as much as 3/16ths of an inch of scope tube “bending.” It didn’t show in Photo of the "perfect" alignment of the pointed bars above did it? So does bringing the points together fix anything or in any way give you that perfect alignment horizontally or vertically as promised in the ads? NO! Trust me, bending a scope tub 1/8th of an inch or so will misalign the lenses and screw up your vision. There are lenses at each end of the tube and some in the middle, between the rings. Bending the tube up or down at the ends will cause a serious misalignment of the lenses and distort what you see through the scope. Have you ever heard about a gun that just wouldn’t shoot no matter what was done to it? Proper mounting of the scope has cured many such guns. Ever hear about a scope that just wouldn’t shoot straight and when sent back to the maker repeatedly was always pronounced OK? The owner finally tries another, maybe even a cheap scope, and suddenly the gun shoots? There’s a very good chance that with the last scope the owner inadvertently reversed a ring taking a lot of the pressure off the tube, thereby removing a bend, and parallax, and suddenly the gun shoots. Mount your scopes carefully and precisely, it’s really quite easy to do. If you can use a screwdriver and read instructions you can use my tools to precisely and accurately mount a scope. And then leave those rings on that gun!

If you ever have a question, call me. I will do my best to help you. I gave up a long time ago trying to grow up rich. I’m satisfied with getting letters from happy shooters who love my tools ‘cause the tools helped them to get the best accuracy from their guns. I feel really good to be of help to gun people, the nicest and most honest folks in the world!




For lots of good information on machining and metalwork, visit Guy Lautard's page.


Ph. 1-406-755-3220


As a Last resort:e-mail

More information on any of these
and other products can be obtained from:
Kokopelli Products, 3820 Foothill Rd. Kalispell, MT 59901
Ph. 1-406-755-3220
.

Copyright © 1996-2006 (LDT) & Kokopelli Products.