Tag Archives: Model 71

Barrel Bands for Winchester or Browning 71 Part III of III

Biginning the shaping process.

Biginning the shaping process.

When ready to shape the barrel band close to final dimensions I normally use and endmill to rough out the contour to match the barrel.  The majority of the shaping is done on a belt sander, rounding all the contours so they are down to the final contour and dimensions.  Radius the corner where the sling swivel is mounted so that the swivel can swing 90 degrees in use.  The rest is hand polishing.


If using the standard button magazine tube place the band so that its forward edge will be just behind the screw that retains the magazine plug.  Often clients ask for full-length magazine tubes when making this conversion, the barrel band must be mounted behind the front sight, so keep that in mind.  Be sure to trial fit the whole thing before you solder the band to the barrel, that will save you tearing it down to fix something, or reposition the band.


Soldering the barrel band in place, I use Hi-Force 44äSolder from Brownells.  It is 96% tin and 4% Silver, it flows freely at 475° F.  Much cooler than silver braze so no danger of damaging the bore of the barrel.  I have yet to see a sight or band move that has been properly tinned with this solder. 


Finish Shaped barrel band before installation.

 Just clean up the solder and flux, prep the metal as desired and blue or finish as needed.  Caustic bluing salts will eat this solder at about .001” per minute so minimize time in the bluing tank and be sure to neutralize the salts.


If you install a full-length magazine you will have to replace the magazine spring as the factory spring will be far too short.  I also turn a new magazine follower out of Teflon rod to decrease the mass of the follower, which under recoil can pound on the ammo and contribute to the forces trying to drive the magazine off the rifle.



My barrel band on a full length magazine tube, you can see how it adds a huge amount of strength.

 Brownells Inc.

200 South Front Street
Montezuma, Iowa 50171


http://www.brownells.com  (solder and flux)


Wisner’s Inc

PO Box 5

Adna,  Washington, 98522  

(360) 748-4590

http://www.wisnersinc.com  (magazine tubes)


Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To

Barrel Bands for Winchester or Browning 71 Part II of III

All holes roughed out in blank.

All holes roughed out in blank.

Next layout the holes for the clamping screw and if desired a sling swivel mount.  If there will be no swivel attachment on the barrel band then center the clamping screw under the magazine tube for a nice symmetric look, this style looks good if you make a clean arc shape under the clamp screw for final shape.  Make sure the hole is far enough away from the magazine so the threads will not cut through the wall of the magazine tube hole.  A 10-32 clamping screw works well and will hold up for many years of use and abuse. For the screw hole I drill to tap drill size and countersink for the head of the screw so it will be flush when assembled, nothing to snag on.  Drill them all the way through but that is for simplicity, you could make blind holes for the clamp screw if you think that would look better.  To save unnecessary work measure your sling swivel to make sure it will clear the side of the barrel band (see picture). 

At this point is when I trimmed my oversized block to the correct length.Looking at the pictures accompanying this article you will note that I undercut the clamp area of the band a little narrower to make the band look less blocky.  This also helps to get the swivel mount closer to the center line of the gun.  Undercut  these areas between .075” and .100” depending on your desired finished dimensions. Using a ball endmill will provide a nice contour at the transition points.  I also use the ball endmill to rough out the grooves on the side of the band between the barrel hole and the magazine hole.  Now if your doing the sling swivel mount you can cut away the unneeded material, opposite the swivel mount, see photos.

Here is one layout that works well for a custom barrel band.

Here is one layout that works well for a custom barrel band.

My bands generally end up about .075” thick over the barrel, they can be made thinner but as long as they look good I figure the added weight is a good thing.  I layout the center-lines for the barrel hole first keeping wall thickness in mind.  Then simply take the radius of the barrel and magazine holes add them and add the measurement you took with the feeler gauges for the gap between the barrel and magazine.  That gives you the location for the center of the Magazine hole in relation to the barrel hole.

I then set up in the mill and rough out both holes, keeping track of my zero so I can move back and forth for the finish boring of the holes.  Final sizing of the holes is accomplished using a boring head in the mill.  If you don’t have a mill you could do this work on the lathe using a four jaw, it would just take more set up time.  Once the holes are bored to the desired dimensions I test fit them to the barrel and tube.  Ideally the barrel hole should allow the barrel to slide close to the finial position so that I can adjust it with a rawhide mallet for position and alignment.  The magazine hole should be close slip fit.


Slitting Saw or Hack Saw can make this cut.

Slitting Saw or Hack Saw can make this cut.

A slitting saw is used to make a slot from the bottom of the barrel band up into the magazine hole.  This could be done with a hacksaw or bandsaw, but I like the finished look of the slot using the slitting saw.  If your going to include a swivel mount be sure to consider that when choosing the location for the slot. Once the slot is cut be sure to go back to your clamping screw hole and drill a relief so that your clamping screw will actually clamp the magazine tube.  This is the time to drill the relief because you can feel when you hit the slot, no measuring for depth needed.  I actually use the relieved hole as a tap guide and tap the hole for the clamp screw at this point. 

Note that the corners at the bottom of the barrel band were radiused to allow the swivel to swing, and for a more finished look.  The picture at the left also gives you a clear view of the gap between the barrel and the magazine tube.

Contoured barrel band in the white.

Contoured barrel band in the white.

Come back soon for part III.





Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Uncategorized

Barrel Bands for Winchester or Browning 71 Part I of III


Custom Barrel Band, helps hold the Model 71 together.

Custom Barrel Band, helps hold the Model 71 together.


I often have clients ask for 450 or 50 Alaskan conversions on Model 71 actions.  These are pretty easy conversions, only minor feeding changes are needed, but that is not what this article is about.



The 450 Alaskan, 50 Alaskan, the 348 Ackley Improved or even the 348 Winchester which the Model 71 is normally chambered for produce a fair amount of recoil.  You have a relatively light rifle versus the caliber so recoil is stout but manageable with these guns.  Model 71 carbines and rifles have been popular with Alaskans ever since they came out.  They deliver a powerful cartridge in a handy, fast action, light package, all in all – good bear medicine.

Unfortunately the light package also means the recoil is hard on the gun.  The Forend is retained by a small dovetailed hanger under the forend cap.   They often become loose over time allowing the forend to rattle and move fore and aft.  There are a few things the gunsmith can do to help prevent that problem.  First, make sure the forend is fit correctly so that there is no movement when fully assembled.  Second, I always put two springs in the back of the forend on either side of the magazine tube that push against the receiver, thus holding the forend tight, preventing any rattle that might develop, despite our best efforts. Finally I make a custom barrel band that is soldered to the barrel and grips the magazine tube tight, preventing any movement under recoil.  The barrel band also holds the magazine tight, up against the forearm hanger, which prevents it from twisting or moving during handling or under recoil.

I have seen many old 71s with loose magazine tubes, even though on this action they are threaded into the receiver.  It would be a bad day indeed if you fired your first shoot at a charging Kodiak Bear only to find you have launched your magazine at him under recoil.  That second shot might be a real problem under such circumstances.  As a gunsmith you don’t want a call telling you that the gun you built failed in any such situation.

Mild steel makes a fine material for a barrel band.  I simply cut a piece of flat bar stock  2”x1”, just over .750” long and true it up in the mill.  The finished dimensions of this project are not critical, its more about providing support for the magazine tube and making it look like it belongs on the gun.  The Blank pictured here is about 2.5” instead of 2”, I know some of you would notice and question this, it just happens to be the material I had on hand.  I trim the excess off during the machining process.
To get ready for layout of the holes for the barrel and magazine use feeler gauges to measure the gap between the barrel and tube on the assembled gun.  This is important because the magazine tube will have to slip thru the barrel band to be assembled when your finished.  Then measure the barrel at the point where it will be soldered, the magazine tube is cylindrical so measure it and your ready to layout the primary holes.

This is part one of a three part article, we will show you how-to make this barrel band from scratch.


Barrel Band blank being bored for barrel and magazine tube.

Barrel Band blank being bored for barrel and magazine tube.


Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, hunting