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Squaring receiver face by hand?

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Unread 04-18-2011, 10:52 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,241
Re: Squaring receiver face by hand?

[QUOTE=stcummingsjr;499703]"How will you measure them to see if they are out of true to start with? How will you measure them to see if you made an improvement when you are done? If you can't measure them, you are doing nothing more than cutting and guessing. "

This was in fact what was driving me nuts and drove me to post. I usually can wade through and come up with a pretty solid answer on most stuff. *I have yet to hear/read of anyone using the hand squaring tool from brownells, ( as noted for good reason by fitch) *I can't get past that it was designed, maybe poorly to accomplish a squaring task- but as it has been pointed out...I will never really know if it did any good of not. Has anyone ( maybe back during your cheap sluming days ever try one for kicks? I would assume that if operated properly it can't make things worse... But I'll never know

Maybe I can walk you through the scenarios and help you decide which way you want to go.

Doing anything by hand allways has it's risk. The reason the Lathe process is preferred is that It
Is precision and leaves little room for error if set up correctly.

Threads are not allways precision and perfectly on the center line of the action (The main reason
we chase the threads with a threading bar or boring bar with a threading tool and not a tap).

This trues up the threads to the center line. (This is done before the tenon threads are cut).

The hand tools can chatter or deflect enough to prevent 100% contact with the recoil lug and
the receiver and that is the main reason for squaring in the first place.

With a lathe setup, you can measure the out of squareness before you start and know exactly
how much to remove.

As someone said if you cant measure for squareness it may be OK and you run the risk of making
it worse.

I have seen receivers that were 4 or 5 thousandths out and on these even doing it by hand
should be an improvement.

I think highly of Dave Manson's tools but I am unsure that I could do a perfect job with any hand
tool so I rely on the Lathe to make up for my shortcomings.

It would be nice to be able to set up on the Lathe and check the trueness and then use the hand
tool and then set it back up in the Lathe and check It and see how accurate it was.

I dont have a hand tool for this or I would test it just to answer your question.

I will say this , Just because you use a Lathe doesn't mean it will be true if it is not setup
correctly. I have seen many custom rifles that were not true because of setup or lack of caring.

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Unread 04-19-2011, 12:19 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: California
Posts: 102
Re: Squaring receiver face by hand?

J E thanks for helping me through it! I went ahead and ordered the facing tool. Mostly cuse I'm curious and would like to see what it's capable of. I have a RH barreled action in a 243 and one in 7mm that I will shoot as is, try the hand facer and document any change, then hopefully send to one of u smiths to check it's trueness. I'll have to send the facer along to ensure my ability to use it did not fall short. As a LH shooter I can use RH Stuff for a little learning without feeling too bad about
It sacrifice. Thanks again
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Unread 04-19-2011, 08:30 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Carlisle, PA
Posts: 478
Re: Squaring receiver face by hand?

Originally Posted by geargrinder View Post
I was under the impression that you should always true a Savage action in relation to the action threads and not to the bolt raceway like a remington. It's also done because you don't want to recut Savage threads. If you did, you'd never be able to use prefits.

What's your thoughts, Fitch?
Savages have a floating bolt head. It is a huge feature and probably responsible for their amazing accuracy with what I've seen are sometimes sorry looking barrel bores. I have several Savages. The only thing I do to them is true the front face of the receiver to the bolt bore. I do this because the recoil lugs are usually pretty true to the bolt bore and they control the bolt head. So I make the receiver face pretty much parallel to the recoil lugs which should assure the bolt face is square to the chamber.

I've seen Savage actions with the threads pointing in all sorts of directions and as much as .025" eccentric to the bolt bore. With the barrel nut and recoil lug, the receiver face is the reference surface for where the barrel points. The tenon threads will move slightly in the receiver threads when the nut is tightened.

I crank the nuts to a measured 125 ft-lbs with assembly lube on the threads to prevent galling.

I've only chased the threads on a Savage once and that was as a favor for a buddy of mine who does his own barrels but was nervous about internal threading. I've left the threads on all of mine stock though I can fit a barrel to about anything because I machine and chamber my own.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." R. Feynman. (Last sentence of the Feynman appendix to the Space Shuttle Challenger Report.)
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Unread 04-21-2011, 05:45 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,483
Re: Squaring receiver face by hand?

The 'smith who's fit all my barrels makes a mandrel to hold receivers for truing up their face. It goes all the way through the receiver from the front and threads into the barrel tenon threads dedently tight. Turned on centers, if there's any misalignment between the boltway and tenon thread axes, it shows up quickly. And this lets the tenon threads stay at their factory dimension so barrel changing remains simple. Then the face is turned off just enough to clean it up.

After squaring the receiver face, an end mil held in a threaded bushing is screwed into the receiver, the bolt (previously lug-lapped for full contact) is put in, closed, ten the end mil squares up the bolt face. End result is the closed bolt face is square with the tenon thread and chamber axis.

A small amount of runout at the receiver bridge doesn't seem to be a problem. There was one pre-'64 Win. Mod. 70 receiver that passed around through several 'smiths and none could get it to shoot well with the same barrel that was great in several others. 'Twas only after one of them checked the tenon-boltway axis alignment that it was threaded quite crooked.

Some 'smiths I've talked with say Ruger 77's are somewhat notorious for crooked tenon threads; receiver mounted scopes sometimes end up with the reticule almost at their limits. Remington and Winchester tenon threads are usually pretty good.
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Unread 05-12-2011, 11:56 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1
Re: Squaring receiver face by hand?

thanks for info..........
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