Tag Archives: How to

Chambering Rifles for Accuracy

Have you ever wanted to be a gunsmith?

Or, do you just want to know what a gunsmith does to make your rifles more accurate?

This book is idea for both the guy making a living in gunsmithing and the hobbyist who wants to know how.  It’s no B.S. approach is to tell you all the considerations that go into accuracy in a rifle.  It’s not just the barrel, or how its installed.  Things like trigger jobs and the quality of the ammunition certainly play into the equation.

When I went to gunsmithing school we were taught a rudimentary understanding of how to install a barrel.  A simple list of the facts would be:

  • Face the barrel breach square to the muzzle
  • Put the barrel in a four jaw chuck
  • Install a spider on the outboard side of the lathe head
  • use the chuck and spider to dial in the barrel on the bore.
  • Thread the barrel
  • Chamber the barrel
  • turn it around and dial it in again
  • Crown
  • Polish and blue

Very little was taught about headspace, tollerances, throats, crowns or various ways to hold the reamer for better results.  My first year working in a  gun shop in Coeur d’Alene, ID I learned more about this subject than I did in two years of school.  Luckily I worked for a guy who had years of experience and had learned a lot of useful tricks.  Once my mind was opened up the concept of constantly looking for a better way, the flood gates opened up.  I have tried just about every tool and method I could think of or that I was made aware of.  Some things work better than others and often it’s a matter of personal taste as to which method works best in your shop.  With that said, facts are facts.   Some methods and tools really improve the quality of the work performed, sometimes they are no better but the speed the process aiding the working gunsmith in making a decent living.

My Buddy Gordy Gritters and I were discussing this subject and quickly came to the conclusion that we had a book in the making.  Our combined experience is over 75 years working in the gun industry.  This book is #3 in the “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series”.

I took on the task of describing methods, tools, and all the variables that go into accuracy, no matter who is doing the work.  Gordy took on the task of writing about the methods used for benchrest quality barrel work.  You see there is a substantial difference in the cost of a hunting rifle over a bench rest gun.  The reason for this is simple, time and effort spent on detail after detail when you build bench rest guns.  In short, it cost money to squeeze every bit of accuracy from a gun.

It ended up that we split the book into two parts.  Part I is about hunting rifles and how to get sub-MOA results and not have to sell the farm to pay for it.  Part II is no holds barred, spend all the time and money that it takes to punch holes in the paper that are so close together that it’s tough to tell more than one shot was fired…

Whether you are a gunsmithing customer who wants to understand what is involved, a hobby gunsmith needing to learn or a professional who wants to hone skills that will make you money; This book is for you.

ISBN-13: 978-0983159858

 

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

How To: Inlet Your Barrel Correctly

A barrel should be inlet up to the center line of the bore, or in other words, half it’s diameter should be below the wood line.  All too many new gunsmiths and hobby gunsmiths just inlet until they can get the screws into the action and call it good.

There is a simple way to make sure your barrel channel is deep enough so that the bore line will be aligned to the top of the stock.  Take a square and place the outside 90 degree corner of the squared into the barrel channel.  If the square touches on all three sides then the barrel channel is a half circle.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

If the point at the bottom of the barrel channel touches and keeps the sides from contacting the top of the stock then your too shallow.  Conversely, if the point of the square does not touch but both sides are in contact with the top of the stock then your past 50 percent depth.

Fred Zeglin is working on a series of booklets, “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series”.  This little how-to tip is just one peek into the upcoming books.  What gunsmithing tips would interest you?

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Filed under Books, Gunsmithing, How To, Stocks, tools

Renting Reamers Can Be a Life Saver

I have heard many gunsmiths say they would never rent a reamer.  How foolish…  Buying a reamer you will probably only use once is a waste of money.  But, more important even than that is the fact that sometimes time is the most important concern.  Renting a reamer is a fast way to get the tool you need and not poor resources into a stagnant tool.

The reason most gunscranks give for not renting is they figure the tools have to be poor quality.  All you have to do is think about business, profit comes from repeat customers, so no rental place will knowingly send you a bad tool.  Next time you have a client breathing down you neck because you have had a job on the shelf too long, consider saving time by renting the tools.  I always pass this cost along to the client, some shops even mark it up a little.  Probably depends on your client base when it comes to the pricing.

fitting a rifle barrel

Reamer snobs make less money and their rifles don’t necessarily shoot any better than anybody else’s.  Here’s to saving time and making money!

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Filed under Gunsmithing, tools

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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Filed under accuracy, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, hunting, Rifles, Sights/Scopes, tools