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0.001 dial indicator for barrel set up

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Unread 12-15-2011, 08:16 AM
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Location: Texas
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Re: 0.001 dial indicator for barrel set up

When I first started building rifles I used .001 indicators and did fine. The trick (Like shortgrass
said) was to keep the indicator on .000.

I finally bought a better lathe and though I needed better instrumentation so I bought a
last word with .0005 capability and several dials with the same.

I found that my lathe would not consistently work within .00001 tolerances and that I
could stay in the .0001 to .0003 range.

The .00001 indicators are very sensitive and will make it easier to read any thing under .0001
but they dont have much travel so for most work I use the .0005 indicators and the last word
.00001 on the chambers.

The main advantage of the .0005 indicators is ease of seeing the slight run out of the work and
the Lathe.

Most of the factory rifles have a .003 or .004 + or - tolerance and lots of production gunsmiths are
fine with that also.

I have been told by several barrel makers that barrel run out within .007 is fine (Acceptable to
them). but I wont except any more than .001 to .002 TIR end to end because I feel that the
heart of any rifle is the barrel and there are barrel makers that can and do build barrels that are
perfict ( under.00001 TIR).

Buy good barrels and stay within 1 or 2 ten thousandths and you will be fine and sometimes the
build will go perfict (All readings were below .0001) if you keep trying to do better than the last
rifle on every build.

This is where the craftsmanship is important.

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Unread 12-15-2011, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: greenwood, IN
Posts: 4,061
Re: 0.001 dial indicator for barrel set up

Originally Posted by ken snyder View Post
.0005 test indicator for run out. They're just easier to see whats going on is all. More important is a good base to put it on. Tenths is mainly spoken as a tolerance around a number ending in a thousandths - just a language for a tolerance around the last significant decimal place. If the last decimal place is a tenth then the tolerances will be spoken as hundredths (.00001) - Barrels are a Mystery judging by all the different sized pilots available for each caliber.
slightly off subject, but regarding dial indicators if it matters a lot. I said earlier that I use a lot of Interrapids, and most folks think of them as the Roll Royce of dial indicators (I've seen one that's better). The onething I hate about a dial indicator is when you adjust the dial face (turn it) is that most will move all over the place. That .0005" Interapid stays put everytime. Now I have one of their .0001" ones, and hate it! It's just too sensitive to movement. But when I had to be right on the money it was dragged out of the box. The Federals are pretty good, but their dials are too stiff for adjusting in my book.

A good rule of the thumb is that if you want to work within .001", it's best to use a .0005" indicator that has fairly good travel (.025" is plenty enough). I even had a couple .000050" Federals I used for splitting tenths when building gauges, and I often commentted that they were pretty much a joke to use! Still it made other folks happy. Also keep in mind that 80% of the dial indicators sold do not like to be set at the 12 oclock position, and then be turned upside down (6 oclock). The only ones you can do that with are the Interrapids and the B&S Best Test
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