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Is Blue Printing an Action important?

 
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:43 PM
kc kc is offline
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Is Blue Printing an Action important?

As a good friend at Williams Gunsight told me, "if you are changing a Barrel. its very important if you are shooting for accuracy, get your Action Blue Printed"If you find a Gunsmith who runs a buisness and tells you he could do the job for $50.00, RUN! get the hell away from this guy, there is so much work to get it right there is no Smith in there right mind could do this job for that price.
you need to have the most accuracy that you can get..even one thousandths of an inch, can throw you off target at long range..it may be on at 100yards, but when you shoot to 500yards you will see the difference. You will be way off.

There are many reputable Gun Smiths that will read this post, please enclude your opinions.
Keith.
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Old 12-23-2010, 04:54 PM
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Re: Is Blue Printing an Action important?

The short answer is "YES"! Price range is ~ $150 +/- $50.
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Old 12-23-2010, 05:02 PM
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Re: Is Blue Printing an Action important?

Quote:
The short answer is "YES"! Price range is ~ $150 +/- $50.
I have called a lot of gunsmiths and the cheapest I heard of was $300. Who are you using that will do it for $150+/-$50?
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Old 12-23-2010, 05:13 PM
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Re: Is Blue Printing an Action important?

Yep, the answer is yes.

Its not some much the cost as the quality of the work that makes the difference. Big time!!

Also, I firmly believe it will always make a difference. A good job will most certainly improve things. A bad job will most certainly make things worse.
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Old 12-23-2010, 05:40 PM
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Re: Is Blue Printing an Action important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by partisan1911 View Post
I have called a lot of gunsmiths and the cheapest I heard of was $300. Who are you using that will do it for $150+/-$50?
Thats the avarage price for any smith who calls longrange hunting home
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:14 PM
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Re: Is Blue Printing an Action important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kc View Post
As a good friend at Williams Gunsight told me, "if you are changing a Barrel. its very important if you are shooting for accuracy, get your Action Blue Printed"If you find a Gunsmith who runs a buisness and tells you he could do the job for $50.00, RUN! get the hell away from this guy, there is so much work to get it right there is no Smith in there right mind could do this job for that price.
you need to have the most accuracy that you can get..even one thousandths of an inch, can throw you off target at long range..it may be on at 100yards, but when you shoot to 500yards you will see the difference. You will be way off.

There are many reputable Gun Smiths that will read this post, please enclude your opinions.
Keith.

I'll start by saying there's no way I could do it for $50.00. That fee doesn't even cover the programming. My rates are higher. I justify/rationalize it by being able to offer additional services/features most smiths don't have the equipment to do. I use a CNC milling center for my action work instead of a lathe. If I am asked to deliver every feature I offer on a Rem 700 it's an $800 charge. It gets the nuts n bolts blueprint portion (although with thread milling in my Haas VF-1 there's a few other little things I can do that can't be done with a lathe), a helical flute job on the bolt, an M-16 extractor, a proprietary fire control swap that converts the action to "cock on open only" (Std equipment on many custom actions) I pin the lug, TIG the bolt handle, reset the primary extraction, line hone the receiver with a (Sunnen MBB-1660 hone) and install a new PTG bolt body built to the ID of the receiver bore, and enlarge the base holes to 8-40. I also use my own in house lugs that are ground, heat treated, and drilled for pins to register the clock position of the lug on the action.

http://www.longriflesinc.com/process.html

As for the statements regarding shot groups and what not.

Understand going into this there are far more opinions than there are facts when talking about receiver work. One particular subject I find interesting is the debate over bolt clearances. I own a rather robust CAD/CAM system that I use for virtually all of my gunwork. I've devoted some time to modeling receivers and bolts for the sole purpose of conclusively knowing exactly how much angular deviation there is when a bolt is in battery with a fire control loaded against the sear.

In my model (based on a std length Rem 700) I allowed for a .005" difference between receiver and bolt. This works out to an angular deflection of .054 degrees. the 12 o clock lug is less than .001" away from the receiver.

(Edit: Perhaps this would be a great experiment for my daughter's science fair project. We'll take a Rem 700 and shoot 100 rounds for record with a sloppy bolt and then we'll tune the bolt up so that it's a slip fit just to see what happens.)

To many gunsmiths in the LR and BR fraternity this amount of clearance is categorized as being excessive and unacceptable. The argument ranges from terms like "flutter" (which I assume to mean the bolt wiggling back and forth as pressure rises during the firing event, creating a vibration that travels down the barrel) to issues like inconsistent ignition because the striker isn't exactly concentric with the primer.

Part of me really questions this. Is a tolerance less than .001" really worth getting all worked up over? How many gunsmiths are truly able to hold a chamber to a TIR (Total Indicated Runout) of less than .001? Few are. For me to do it to the level needed, I had to invest in a $65,000 CNC slant bed turning center. I'd go so far to say that if 100 of the top longrange and bench rest guns were gobbled up and sent to a certified metrology lab for inspection that the bulk of them would come back with an inspection sheet that showed all sorts of discrepancies. (Including the ones I do.)

What I've come to accept is basically no one out there in gun land has a solid answer to this question. Myself included.

There does however exist another side of this. Confidence in one's equipment. If we walk into a low end department store and pick up a $20 watch chances are it'll work fine and feel extremely cheap on our wrist. Now go to a high end jewelry store and pick any marquee watchmaker. It'll have some heft to it, the fit/finish will be exceptional, and the price tag will reflect that accordingly.

Both still tell you what time it is but what would you rather have?

I venture to say most would opt for the nicer of the two.

Such is the same with high end gunsmithing. All the "bells and whistles" performed by a gunmaker with a stellar reputation serves as a booster shot to the shooter's confidence. It's a great comfort to know that if a shot does produce a flier it's a shooter/ammunition problem and not a gun problem.

That means a great deal. It's critical to serious competitive shooters and folks who work in an operational capacity.

So I'll end my dissertation by stating plainly that I'm personally not convinced that it makes the difference suggested by others. That being said it is a service I offer and I have a pretty good grasp on machine work. The equipment I use is better than most and I have some additional features I can perform that most cannot. It's certainly not hurting anything and the customer is getting what he/she is paying for.

So, until I'm conclusively shown one way or another I'll keep offering it to my clients.

Hope this helped.

Chad
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Last edited by NesikaChad; 12-23-2010 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:17 PM
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Re: Is Blue Printing an Action important?

I blueprint actions that when finished I can make them work just a good if not better than some custom actions. I charge $150 as I feel that's worth the time I have involved. If any one is willing to pay me $300 though I'd gladly except it Blueprinting a production action is definitely worth it from an accuracy stand point. The process is hard to describe but I'll do my best to explain my process.

I use a GTR Action Bolt Bore Reamer Mandrel and several different sizes of bushing in .0002" increments. I built my own action fixture as well. Each actions bolt bore usually has 2 different sizes. Lets say under the rear bearing area the bolt bore diameter is .701" and the front bearing area is .705" Now with some other methods I know of, riflesmiths would have several different solid ground mandrels of varying sizes to find the one that fits best through the action. In this case the mandrel sized just under .701" is the one they would have to use because it would snugly fit through the action. What they might not have known was that they're really only making contact with the rear bearing area and not the front. So as they're indicating the mandrel in they're really not dialing in the true axial alignment with the center line of the action. They're probably making the action worse than what it was from the factory. I've seen this on a few actions that the customer said the action was already blueprinted by the last smith. Unless I knew the smith well and knew his process for action blueprinting I had a hard time believing the action was blueprinted properly so I set a few up to check my way and sure enough everyone was out at least .002" and most of the actions I checked the smith never did anything with the receiver threads.

Now the method I use is, I have several bushing with a perfect honed .500" inside diameter and varying sizes from .697" - .707" in .0002" increments outside diameter. I found the bushing that just fits snug in the rear bearing area. Next I would find the bushing that fit snug in the front bearing area. Now both bushings have identical inside diameters and are kept in line with the center line of the action but the outsides are different to take up the difference in bolt diameters from the rear bearing area and front bearing area.

I'll slide my GTR Bolt Bore Mandrel through the bushings which is next to a perfect slip fit. I'll place the action in my blueprinting fixture and with 2 .0001" dial indicators on the mandrel, one right ahead of the action and one about 5" out I start dialing in the action for true axial alignment through the center line of the action. I normally can dial an action to less than .0002" of being perfect. I can then slide the mandrel out leaving the receiver face, internal locking lugs and threads open to machining in one set-up.

With a razor sharp solid carbide single point tool I remove just enough material off the receivers face for a full clean up. I then switch to a 3/4" solid carbide boring bar and remove just enough for a full clean up of the internal locking lugs. I'll then bore the tops off of the threads, again just enough for a full clean up. The receiver thread are usually the worst. I've found most receiver threads to be out of round, like an egg and usually tapered smaller towards the rear. I'll then switch to a internal single point threading tool and pick up the thread pitch. I'll slowly find the bottom of the thread and call that zero. I'll single point re-cut the receiver threads .001" per pass until I get a full clean up which is normally the same amount it took when I bored the tops off the threads. I now know that the action threads have been straightened up and over sized and I know by how much they've been over sized so I can transfer this onto the barrel tennon.

The action itself has now been fully blueprinted. The only other thing that I can do is use the GTR Bolt Bore Reamer Mandrel for its other use. It has solid carbide cutters braized onto mandrel in the middle so you can align your action with the bushing and then drive the mandrel through the action while the cutters take the bolt bore to a perfect .705" diameter the entire way through the action. This a great idea if your going to use custom PTG bolt ground to fit your actions bolt bore.

The next step to blueprinting an action is squaring up the bolt face and rear of the bolt lugs. I prefer to use a Labounty fixture for holding the bolt body in place while I indicate. Most production bolts are not straight so I sometimes don't have a predominate high and low pot while indicating. I sometimes have to split the difference and just work on 2 sides until they are equal then work on the next. For example I may indicate in the bolt and find that the needle reading at jaw 1 is on 0. On jaw 2 the needle is reading .002" on jaw 3 it reads 0 and on jaw 4 it reads .002" The bolt itself is out of round by .002" I've spit the difference so I get the same reading on opposite jaws. The bolt is now dialed in true and I take a cut on the bolt face with a custom solid boring bar I ground to clearance the factory extractor. I'll remove only enough to get a full clean up. I'll then use a solid carbide left hand facing tool and face off the rear off the bolt lugs just enough for a full clean up.

With my process I'm absolutely sure the actions receiver face and internal locking lugs are perfectly perpendicular to the center line of the action. The receiver threads are now straight and in true axial alignment with the center line of the action as well, and the bolt face and lugs are perfectly perpendicular to the bolt body.

With my action blueprinting process I've been able to do testing with the same action and barrel prior to action blueprinting to see how rthe rifle performs. I then blueprint the action, cut the threads off of the barrel, re-thread and chamber then test again. I've found in most cases that the rifle after blueprinting will be much more accurate and consistent. I made a video of how I blueprint an action a while ago. I just need to find the time to sit down and edit it together so I can post it.

Thanks
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Last edited by Kevin Cram; 12-23-2010 at 07:26 PM.
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