Thinking Inside the Box

Over the holidays I picked up an 1858 Remington reproduction that came in a case with a powder flask, nipple wrench, some percussion caps etc. I converted the gun to fire .450 Adams cartridges and gave the percussion accessories to a friend, and I was left with this nice wooden box. It occurred to me to convert the case to fit the gun in it’s new, cartridge firing form.

I rummaged around and came up with a couple yards of cotton velveteen, and there’s always plenty of 1/4″ Poplar scrap in the shop leftover from my ‘day job,’ so I stripped the case and relined it with the velveteen, made new dividers out of Poplar with the fabric contact-cemented to them. I found a random chunk of wood and bored it to hold cartridges, added some cleaning accessories and patches. With just an evening’s work I had the case refitted, and liked the results.

The 1858 Remington, with a ‘Bisley-style’ modified grip-frame, custom Curly Maple grips and a five-shot cartridge conversion to .450 Adams.

It occurred to me that this was actually a pretty practical thing; I’ve got pistols stacked all over the inside of the safe in various gun rugs, holsters etc. Cases like this are stackable, protect the gun and are just a classier way to store a gun.

I got on Amazon and ordered some hinges and latches, then hit the local Goodwill looking for more boxes. I walked out with case #2 for the princely sum of $3.99. The box was square and a little deeper, and after much deliberation I decided it would house The Outlaw, and 1960 Army with a Kirst gated conversion in .45 Schofield and the .45 derringer that was my first scratch-built gun. It’s actually chambered for .45 ACP, but these days I shoot .450 Adams through it; much easier on both the gun and my hand!

This case holds ‘The Outlaw’ and 20 rounds of ammunition, Nameless, my .45 derringer and five rounds of .450 Admas. Also has a basic cleaning kit and some patches.

I was kind of on a roll now, and the next weekend found me back at Goodwill again, once again leaving with a nice wooden box for under $4.

This one I set up for a gun I call ‘Southern Comfort,’ a brass-frame Navy revolver, modified with a mish-mash of features from Confederate Colt knock-offs, a custom grip-frame, Curly Maple grips, a snub barrel and a Long-Cylinder conversion to .38 S&W (with a barrel-liner for the smaller-diameter cartridge.) This time the finish on the box wasn’t as good, so I stripped, sanded and refinished the box. I happened to have an Ideal Reloading Tool for .38 S&W so I made space for that, a punch and de-priming block and a custom brass powder-dipper that holds exactly enough Unique for my favorite .38 S&W load. I also included a block for fifteen rounds of ammunition and some custom accessories.

Accessories- an Ideal Reloading tool for .38 S&W, a de-capping block and punch,
handmade brass powder dipper, cleaning rod, screwdriver and ejector

As you can see I’m on a roll, so after I finished the rolling-block carbine project I was casting about for another project and got to eyeing my pile of scrap Poplar again. It occurred to me there was no reason I couldn’t make my own boxes, fairly small ones at least. Over the course of a couple evenings I put together a 10″ x 5-1/2″ box, stained it with Fiebing’s brown leather dye and fitted it up to hold ‘The Cherub,’ an 1949 Pocket reproduction that I converted to .22 the other year. I partitioned the box, made a Maple cartridge block to hold thirty rounds of .22 and made a cleaning rod, screw-driver and ejector-rod for the little gun.

My second-ever home-made wooden box
The Cherub in its new home
Hand-made accessories- An ejector rod, a screwdriver and cleaning rod.

This gun got it’s name from Linda- when I first showed it to her I told her it was styled after a type of gun known as an ‘Avenging Angel.’ She snorted and said, “It looks more like an Irritable Cherub.” I’ve called it ‘The Cherub’ ever since.

I guess I have a new hobby. Because I totally needed a new hobby. Well, what the hell, right? It’s relatively inexpensive, kind of classy, protects the guns, and the boxes are certainly neater to store than rugs and holsters. It also uses up all those little scraps of antler that have been cluttering up my bench for the last 2-3 years. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Michael Tinker Pearce, 10 Feb. 2019

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