Basic Rifle Maintenance - Part 3
Basic Rifle Maintenance - Part 3By Vince Bottomley
©Copyright 2009, Target Shooter Magazine
In part one we covered the bolt, then the barrel in part 2, so now let’s take a look at the action/stock.
We can divide our maintenance into three parts:
The action itself
Let’s start with the action. Most actions will be retained in the stock with two or maybe three screws. This method of retention dates back well over a century so it looks as though someone got it right pretty early on. By removing the action-screws we can separate the barrelled-action from the stock. If your rifle has an integral box-magazine, be prepared for a few bits to jump out. You can pre-empt this by releasing the floor-plate – usually achieved by operating a catch near to the trigger-guard.
This type of integral box-magazine cum floor-plate and trigger-guard is standard on most factory hunting rifles.
If we put the stock to one side for a moment and concentrate on the action, we will probably see a recoil lug somewhere – usually sandwiched between the barrel and the action or maybe part of the action. The very name gives a clue to its function - it transfers the recoil to the stock rather than exerting a shear force through the action screws. If your action has a deep rear tang, that may also absorb recoil.
There is little we can do with the action itself beyond a thorough clean. With access now available from top and bottom we can give it a good clean internally, especially in the lug recesses. A large amount of debris can accumulate here and it often gets overlooked when we clean the barrel. Remove it with a proper cleaning tool or improvise with a bit of bent wire and a few cleaning patches. A squirt with WD40 will help loosen the crud. Don’t forget to pass a patch or two through the barrel afterwards – it’s easy to leave a patch or debris in there!
Now for the trigger. This is one bit that we can apply a little TLC to but don’t get carried away. We like a clean trigger but we don’t want it lubricated with oil. Oil will affect the function of the trigger and will also attract dust and grit – the enemy of our trigger. If your trigger is working satisfactorily, I would say leave well alone. If you attempt to clean it you could easily disturb grit or debris and end up jamming the trigger.
Zippo petroleum based lighter fuel is as good as anything for flushing triggers. This particular tin has accompanied me to Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, Austria and America – and I’ve yet to use it!
If the trigger looks really grungy, then it’s a good opportunity to clean it. Start by removing it from the action. It will be fixed by one or two screws or it may be retained with a couple of pins – as in the case of Remington style triggers. Drive out the pins with a suitable punch – they should come out easily – but get ready for springs to fly! Although you will remember where the main screws or pins go, safeties can be another matter so, before you do anything, take a pic or two with your digital camera, then you will know how it all fits together.
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