Monthly Archives: December 2010

How To: Update an old 10-22, Part III

Stock is cut to match the new McGowen 10-22 drop-in barrel.

Above is the forend of the stock right after I cut it off.  As mentioned in an earlier post the barrel did not look good with the stock at factory length.  The disadvantage is that under the barrel channel there is a cut that was put there mainly to lighten the stock.  As a result I now have a gap under the barrel that looks pretty bad.

Right away I looked at two solutions to the gap under the barrel.  First is to use a piece of the forend that we just cut off to make a plug for the hole. This gap under the barrel needs to be filled to make a professional looking job of it.

File the insert to shape.

You can see that I cut out a small plug to fit the hole under the barrel.  I was careful to select a piece that could be aligned with the layers of the laminate.  Then by hand filing the plug you can fit it carefully so that it lines up with the grain, or laminate in the stock.  A tight fit is important if you wish to minimize the line left when the plug is glued in place.

Below is the plug after some fitting.  Note that the gaps around the edges are minimal and will seal up tight with glue.Plug is carefully matched to the space it is inlayed into.

This is one option.   Another is to make a forend cap or tip similar to what is common on sporter style stocks.  That will be our next installment.

Read On: How to Update an Old 10-22, Part IV

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How to Shape a Classic Rifle Stock

Here is a product that will be invaluable to anyone trying to learn how to make a Classic Rifle Stock correctly.   Your not limited to a Classic design though, the dimensions are such that you can adapt for any style stock you might want to build you might say they are good guidelines.

These drawings are well thought out and allow you to adapt the design to whatever project your working on.  They come on a CD and can be printed on a desktop printer, or you can print them on a plotter if you want a full size set of drawings to hang on the wall.
You can get more info and buy the drawings, click here.

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Lapping Scope Rings for improved contact, Part II

A simple tool to level the scope crosshairs to the gun.Wheeler’s Professional scope mounting kit includes the Level, Level, Level set.  This first level attaches to the gun via a magnet.  Steel scope mounts normally have a flat that can be used to mount the level.

I double checked to see that a flat on the action was aligned level with the scope base, because the level would be in the way of the scope during mounting if positioned as shown here.

Placing the level on the action to leave room for the scope over the base.



With the level in place we know that the action is level, so we can move on to install the scope in our lapped rings.

On a gun with factory length of pull, that would be 13.5″ to 13.75″ measured from the center of the butt plate or pad to the center of the trigger, the rear ocular of the scope should be 12.5″ to 13″ from the heel of the stock.  This will set up the scope so that you or your client will not receive the nasty crimson caterpillar.

Wheeler Engineering Levels in place to insure level mounting of scope. In the picture at left you can see that both the rifle and scope are level, insuring the crosshairs match up level to the rifle.  This is one of the simplest methods of leveling I have ever used.   I have a level that I can clamp on the barrel for the same purpose, but this system is faster and will work with most situations.

The Wheeler kit includes Loctite for the screws and bases.Wheeler also includes Loctite so that screws and bases can be mounted solid, without fear that they will loosen up or move.

Nikon scope mounted level to the rifle.



The final stop in the process assemble the rings and tighten them up to hold the scope.  Again the levels are used to make sure nothing moves during this process, and if it does it’s simple to move it back with the levels as a reference.  Once the scope is collimated (bore sighted) your ready for the range.

Up to this point I did not mention one thing, the kit from Wheeler Engineering includes a DVD on how to use the kit.  I watched the DVD with the mindset that I did not know how to do this work, it was well thought out and I think anyone with a little desire could use the kit with great success.  There is nothing left to question.   Possibly most important is that there is nothing else I would add to the kit, they thought of everything you need to mount a scope and it is in this kit.  The professional kit pictured here includes all the tools for both 30mm and 1″ tube scopes, it could not be more complete.

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Lapping Scope Rings for improved contact

Wheeler Engineering Professional Scope Install Kit

Pictured here is the Wheeler Engineering, Professional Scope Mounting Kit. The kits are available in more than one configuration.  You can get kits for 1″ scope tubes, 30mm scope bodies, or like shown here the professional kit contains both 1″ and 30mm tools.

Adjustable torque wrench, inch pounds for scope mounting.

Most of the parts in the Wheeler kits can be purchase separately, like this torque wrench.

The torque wrench included in the kit is adjustable and easy to use.  You just treat it like a fat screw driver.  Torque the scope bases to the desired setting.  Leupold suggests: base screws 14 in/lbs, ring screws, 15-17 in/lbs, and 45 in/lbs on the windage screw.   Like most things in gunsmithing there are many opinions.  Personally I have been mounting scopes for over 25 years and I like 20 to 25 in/lbs on the ring screws and about 20 in/lbs on the base screws.  Now that is with a whole host of exceptions.  First the diameter of the screw, second the number of treads engaged.   It should be obvious that if you have less threads engaged that you have less strength, so then Leupold’s suggestions make more sense to me.  However if I have five or six threads engaged, I have much more strength to draw on.  It should be noted that if you over torque a screw you can shear if off.  In the case of scope rings if you torque too tight you can and probably will dent the tube of your scope.

Now that you have the scope bases installed look back at the first picture above, the center tools are installed in the scope rings so that you can see if the rings are properly aligned.  Not only windage but also elevation matter when installing your rings.  The rear base of the system shown here had to be shimmed to align the rings.  Its not necessary to fully tighten the scope rings with the center tools, just snug so that the tools will not slip.  Once the rings are closely aligned it is time to install the lapping rod.

ready to use the Wheeler Engineering scope ring lapping rod.

Place the rod in the rings and leave the ring loose enough so that you can slide the rod back and forth fairly easily, but the rings should not move around or rattle.  The kit includes lapping compound, smear a small amount of the compound on the rod and begin moving the rod fore and aft.  You just need enough compound so that the lapping rod is coated well, the compound is actually going to cut metal away from the rings.

Wheeler Engineering 220 grit lapping compound for scope rings.The compoud that Wheeler includes in the kit is 220 grit, so it is pretty aggressive.  Scope rings are usually made from soft material because they are just a clamp to hold the scope in place and are under very little stress.  Consequently it only took me a minute or two to get the desired results.  Scope rings must be able to clamp down on the scope tube to hold it in place.  If we were to lap too much we would ruin the rings ability to clamp the scope, so more is not better.  When you look at the pictures of the inside of the rings below keep in mind that we just wanted to increase the contact area and improve alignment so that the scope is not put in a bind by the rings and mounts.  The uneven amount of blueing removed in the  pictures here show how the slight misalignment of the rings is repaired by the lapping process.Lapping rings is best used to increase alignment and contact.

The bottom ring on the left of the action (front)  is lapped more on one edge, the rear ring is also lapped a bit more on the rear edge,  this is because the rings were slightly misaligned in elevation.  Now the scope will rest in the bottom of the rings without any tenancy to twist or tip.

I will finish the mounting of the scope soon, check back.


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How To: Update an old 10-22, Part II kindly donated this Revolution stock for this project.

Here is the stock I selected for this rifle. sells these.

When I decided to dress up this old 10-22 a new stock was an obvious choice.  Because of the configuration of my new McGowen barrel I needed a stock that would lend itself well to the barrel.

If you read part one of this article you probably noticed the triangular shape of my new barrel.  The flats were stopped at a point ahead of the standard forearm on a factory stock.  The barrel started out as a standard .920″ bull barrel, the flats add surface area to dissipate heat and stiffen the barrel.  Not to mention it looks pretty cool, as well as being different from most of the other barrels on the market.

When I ordered the stock from I already knew it would be a good idea to cut the stock back to feature the new barrel and improve to overall look.  In the picture below you can see that the flats of the barrel extend below the stock line on the forend, that just looks tacky.

marking the stock to be cut off.

Two considerations governed the choice to cut the stock at the marked location; First the slots cut in the stock severely limited my choice.  Second I looked at the profile of the stock to see where it would look and feel more balanced if cut.

Stock cut to accommodate the new McGowen barrel.

New profile created by cutting the Revolution 10-22 stock forend.

Read On: How to Update an Old 10-22, Part III

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How To: Update an old 10-22, Part I

Here is the setup for crowning with this simple piloted tool.

11 degree Crowning tool rented from 4D Reamer Rentals LTD.

Here is an easy set-up for crowning.  This tool is an 11 degree crowning tool with a set of interchangeable pilots.  I rented this from 4D Reamer Rentals LTD so that I could quickly and accurately crown this 10-22 barrel.  This set-up is in the lathe with a floating reamer holder.  I put the lathe in back gears and run it slow to avoid any chatter, that with plenty of oil leaves a nice finish, as seen below.

After crowning, the muzzle is nice and smooth.

Notice the concave look of the muzzle once crowned.

I will add a little more about the project gun every few days.  Its a fun way to turn an old beat up 22 into  a new and accurate toy, maybe even a competitor.


Read on: How to Update an Old 10-22, Part II

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