Tag Archives: barrels

Annular Cutter. (turning your barrel for a brake without a lathe).

This is a tool that was designed for a different purpose.  Most of the references that describe there use talk about using them with a magnetic drill.  So this would be more common in a large fabrication than in a gun shop.

Cutting muzzle diameter

Annular Cutter at work.

This tool sometimes called a Rotabroach® cutter, is one of those tools that somebody realized had a crossover use.  Gun lovers have figured out that they can be used in the place of a lathe to reduce the diameter of the muzzle of a barrel.  Normally a lathe would be used for this work, however not everyone can afford a lathe.

There might be some expedient times with such a tool would be more useful than a lathe.  If you have ever had to train an employee you know that the easiest process with minimum opportunity for error is a good choice.  I could see a production facility using the annular cutter because it’s hard to make a mistake.

Prepairing to cut

Be sure to use cutting oil.

Piloting the tool makes it an easy tool to use.  The cutting speed is best kept slow, so a hand drill will work just fine with this tool.  Depending on the actual cutter they can cut as deep as 1 or 2 inches.  Normally you do not want to cut that far back on the barrel, most brakes ask for a .500″ to .560″ length for the threaded portion.  Simply mark how far you want to run the cutter back on the barrel.

These tools are aggressive and sharp so keep the rpm under 250.  Plenty of cutting oil is to be used on the pilot, barrel and cutter.  Because the pilots are long and extend a long distance into the barrel they are very good and helping align the tool.  However, you still need to keep the tool aligned to the barrel or you can do damage to the tool, pilot, barrel, or all three.  If the tool binds at all check your alignment, you may be pushing the tool to one side.

Stop several times during the process and clear away the chips and re-oil the cutter and pilot.  If the tool is “bites”  and wants to stop you are probably running a little too slow, increase the rpm a little and slow the feed.

Setting up for a muzzle brake.

Muzzle of Nagant barrel after the annular cutter.

Once the new muzzle diameter is created you can install a gas block, or thread for a muzzle brake as you desire.  There are several tools available for different diameters of muzzles and various pilots for calibers.  Common calibers are .223. 5.45mm, and 30 Caliber.

4D Reamer Rentals LTD has added a variety of sizes of this tool and a bunch of dies and guides as well so you can use these on a variety of guns and calibers.


Filed under Gunsmithing, How To, Recoil, Rifles, tools

NRA Gunsmithing Schools come to Flathead Valley in Montana


The newest addition to the NRA Gunsmithing Schools is at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana.  This school is being ramrodded by Brandon Miller, who ran the NRA School for Murray State College in Oklahoma for a while.  So, you have experienced management and the instructors are very experienced as well, with a wide variety of expertise.

Everything from Basic Gun Safety, to machine shop, glass bedding rifles, and classes on the 1911.  Much more is listed in the brochure which you can download from the web site linked below.

These short term classes allow professionals to take a little time off from business to expand their abilities, or for the hobbyist its a great way to learn the specifics your interested in.  Either way its a convenient way to learn with classes normally running for 5 days or less.

Check out the list of Classes being offered at FVCC this summer at this link.  I just talked to the staff at the college, and as of today there is still room in many of the classes.  Take a vacation and have some fun.




Filed under accuracy, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Pistol, Rifles, tools, wildcat

Safety Harbor Firearams 2013

uppers-header SafetyHarbor





How about a 50 caliber upper for your AR lower?  It’s not really a new idea, but the folks at Safety Harbor Firearms do as nice a job as anyone at this.

They offer both single shot and magazine fed bolt action conversion uppers for AR lowers.  It does require a hammer and spring replacement available from their web site.  Complete rifles are available as well.  These are all in what I would call carbine configuration with barrels in 18″, 22″ and 29″.  I suppose the AR lower limits the amount of weight that can be put out front, so barrel length is relatively short for a 50.

Prices for an upper alone start at around $1450 so it is very cost effective if you want to own a 50. With new restrictions on the radar being able to reuse your lower on some other gun may be an important option in the future.

Muzzle Velocities:

18″Barrel: 2283.57

22″Barrel: 2385.89

29″Barrel: 2561.91

Average of 3 shots.

Temperature was 90+F.

Humdity was 85%.

Ammo: Summit/French Reloaded M33 Ball

Distance from muzzle to chronograph: 20 Feet


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Filed under Firearms, Rifles

New Gunsmithing Courses Available Summer 2012

Gunsmithing Classes

FVCC’s Continuing Education department has announced the addition of gunsmithing courses to their offerings.  During July of 2012 seven new courses will be offered to hobby gunsmiths and professionals alike.  Brandon Miller, Coordinator for the new Gunsmithing courses was the NRA Coordinator for Murray State College as well as a gunsmithing instructor, until his move to the Kalispell area in 2011.

Two armorers courses are being offered and are in the process of accreditation via POST.  The first is an AR-15, AR-10 Armorers Course.   This five day (40 hour) course is to familiarize the student with the AR-15/AR-10 weapons format. Instruction will include function, disassembly,  as well as reassembly, of main and sub groups.  Troubleshooting and function testing tips, tool use and the installation of many aftermarket custom parts. Optional caliber choices in the AR-15 format will be addressed. The AR-10 and various manufacturers will be discussed, with particular attention to compatibility of parts. Students should to bring their own firearms as guns will not be provided.

Second, a five day (40 hour) course will focus on design, function and repair to factory service specifications for shotguns, including the study of feeding, loading, extraction, headspace, gas systems and basic repair and maintenance of all parts. Guns covered will be Benelli M1, Remington 870, Remington 1100, Remington 11-87, Mossberg 500, Mossberg 835, etc.

An exciting opportunity to learn from an American Custom Gunmakers Guild member, Lee Helgeland, the art of gunstock checkering. Tools, layout and patterns will be discussed in depth as you actually checker your own gunstock. The tips and tricks discussed can shave years off the learning curve of this artistic and functional part of stockmaking.  Bring your gunstocks and tools, this is a hands on class.

Fred Zeglin, Master Gunsmith, will be teaching two classes for this program.  The first is his popular Wildcat Cartridge Design class.  This class takes the student from a raw idea to making the tools needed to form brass and chamber a barrel for a custom cartridge design.  Students will make tools in this class and walk away with a full understanding of how to safely design and test a cartridge.

Fred’s second class will be Glass Bedding for rifles.  This five day course will highlight stress-free bedding processes while focusing on pillar bedding. The course will discuss the intricacies of the ultra accurate bolt action field rifle on today’s market. Areas covered will be bedding, scope mounting, headspace and triggers. The student will have the opportunity to bed at least one rifle in the method he/she chooses. Methods for different actions and reasoning behind the different processes will be discussed in detail. Stock pillars will be made in class.  Bring your rifle.

Other classes will be Alterntive Finihses: The purpose of this class is to familiarize the student with various finishes other than hot caustic bluing. There will be an instruction and demonstration in hot water bluing treatments such as Brownells Classic Rust Blue and Dicropan IM, as well as Nitre Blue. Students will also be instructed in the use of Zinc/Manganese Parkerizing as well as the setup and application of various spray-on finishes. Students will have and opportunity to apply Parkerizing or one of the spray-on finishes to at least one firearm and possibly a second one if time allows.  So, bring your projects.

Finally, Color Case Hardening. The differences between color case hardening modern actions as compared to antique actions will be discussed. Participants will receive hands-on training as they color case harden various parts and/or actions. Students will need to bring their own projects.

There are only a few gunsmithing schools around the country, so in order to take these classes students normally have to travel to one of these schools.  By offering these classes FVCC becomes the only school in the Pacific Northwest to provide such quality training.  For more information contact the Continuing Education Offices at FVCC, (406) 756-3822 or better yet, check out their web site:  https://ace.fvcc.edu/ShowSchedule.awp?&Mode=GROUP&Group=GS&Title=Gunsmithing


Filed under accuracy, ammo, brass, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Rifles, Stocks, tools, wildcat

Who is paying attention?


First person to correctly post what this means as a comment I will send a Z-Hat Baseball cap.


Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, tools

Off to SHOT Show 2012

Fred will be at the SHOT Show this week interviewing people, Signing is Hawk Manual in booth #4250, and looking for new things that would make a GunsmithTalk.  Watch for updates all this week and more to follow.

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Filed under Books, Firearms, Gunsmithing, Rifles, Sights/Scopes, Stocks, tools

17 Hornet from Hornady

New for 2012 is the 17 Hornet, a project spearheaded by the guys at Hornady.  This time they got it right.  17 caliber cartridges are the easiest to work with and clean when they stay under about 3800 fps.  Cartridges like the 17 Javalina are proof of this concept.  Still over 3000 fps at 100 yards the 17 Hornet says,  “Varmints, watch out!”

Based on the 22 Hornet cartridge case, the 17 Hornet propels the 20 gr V-MAX at 3,650 fps. Hornady’s ammo is fueled with Superformance propellent, the 17 Hornet Superformance Varmint is economically priced, and delivers the trajectory of a traditional 55 gr 223 load, but is a pleasure to shoot with the felt recoil of a 22 WMR. What a great little cartridge, making available to non-reloaders a cartridge that performs like many popular wildcats of the past.

Not sure who will be offering rifles in this caliber but it would be a simple rebarrel to make any 22 Hornet into a 17 Hornet.  We will watch at the SHOT show and let you know who has started chambering for the 17 Hornet.  I do know that 4D Reamer Rentals LTD. has already bought the reamer and has it on the shelf.

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Filed under ammo, Firearms, Gunsmithing, Rifles, tools, wildcat

AAC Micro 7, 300 AAC Blackout (7.62x35mm)

This is a bolt action rifle made by Advanced Armament Corp. Utilizing the Remington Model 7 action.   Comes with a 16″ barrel, muzzle threaded for a brake or suppressor 5/8″x24 and a thread protector is included.  The twist rate is 1-8 so it will work with sub-sonic or hyper-sonic loads.  The stock is a glass filled polymer with an adjustable cheek piece.  The trigger is externally adjustable down to 3.5 pounds pull weight.  The whole thing is capped off with a picatinni rail with 20 MOA built in angle.  This is a handy light little package that would be about ideal for game management, etc.  MSRP is $899.

For further details check out Click Here

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Podcast of gunsmithing information.

Want more Talk about gunsmithing?  Check out http://gunsmithingradio.com/

New episodes are posted about every two weeks.  Supplemental show notes appear on the gunsmithing radio web site.  The notes include pictures that help make the show a little easier to translate into real world.

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Filed under Gunsmithing, How To

Awesome article on Brownells History

A few years back I ran onto a group for outdoor communicators called Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA).  They were having a meeting at the SHOT Show, so I decided to check them out.  Turned out to be a great group of people and I joined on the spot.

Laurie, who wrote the linked article is the Executive Director of POMA and a fantastic lady.  Anyway the linked story is right up our alley here on GunsmithTalk, so check it out.


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Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, Uncategorized