Friends and fellow U.N.C.L.E. fans Paul and Eric contacted me not too long ago in preparation for making their carbine barrels. It turns out, rather than duplicating the way Joe Hayes made mine, they came up with another way, which may be better.
They are machining their barrel extensions from titanium—that's right folks, it's not a typo—solid titanium stock to keep mass to a minimum. As I understand it, the process takes several hours to cut, bore and tap the barrel from a piece of titanium. And even though the mechanics are well beyond my expertise, I can relate to the tireless hours they've spent in labor and research striving to make their dream a reality.
Their design entails leaving the original P38 barrel the standard length in order to maximize the available rifling. The area around the muzzle that contains the front-sight dovetail is then threaded to accept the extension, which contains two internally stepped, interfacing lands for positive seating.
The task sounds as tedious as it does technical. However, images of their pre-handguard-mounted prototypes look quite impressive—so much so I asked them to make one for me in case the accuracy from my barrel is less than stellar, or should cycling issues persist. After all, the best dreams come with more than just a monetary price; they are paid in blood and sweat and demand unwavering dedication. For me, this project has been as much a lesson in non-linear problem solving as well as humility. Still, part of me can't help but wonder what sort of educational tidbits Paul and Eric will come away with from their lessons when all is said and done.