Basic Gunsmithing that you can do

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by J E Custom, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    A while back len ask if anyone would write a thread on basic gunsmithing
    to help the new members or just the ones interested in doing some things
    for them self, So hear goes.

    The main reason for doing basic gunsmithing is to improve the performance
    of the weapon. There are many ways to improve a weapon but I will start
    with the basics that can be performed by almost anyone.

    1= Start looking at the weapon and understand what it's strengths and weakness
    are and develop a plan as to what you think it needs and follow your plan one step
    at a time.

    2= I would suggest a thorough cleaning of the bore,chamber,bolt face and action.
    Most hunting rifles are never realy cleaned so do a good solvent clean and as you
    do you will notice that the patches will glide through the bore in places and drag
    in others, Keep cleaning untill the bore feels slick all the way through.This may
    take several hours and many strokes (4 or 500 ) if the barrel was realy fouled.many
    rifles have responeded to a back to bare metal cleaning by returning to the way
    it once shot with no further work required.

    3= If the cleaning did not help the next step is to remove the barreled action from
    the stock and carefully look at the stock and barreled action for wear points or places
    that they were touching,these pressure points may be the problem and must be
    addressed .

    4= If the barreled action to stock fit is in question then a bedding and barrel floating
    would be the next step. Each type of action ( Rem, win,savage,browining ETC )
    responds to different locations for the bedding to get the best results so use this
    web site to find out the most common method used for your action. I allways start
    with installing pillars on all types of stocks unless they are allready installed. if the
    stock has a bedding block set the barreled action in the stock with the barrel facing
    up and the recoil lug seated against the recoil surface of the bedding block, Hold the
    stock barrel and action with one hand and look in the bedding screw holes in the
    stock at the threaded holes in the recever. THEY SHOULD BE CENTERED!! so that the
    bedding screws don't become the recoil lug.If they are not then bedding must be
    placed between the recoil lug and the recoil surface of the bedding block. I use heat
    shrink on the bedding screws to align the action and to space the recoil lug for bedding.

    5= Next would be to float the barrel, but before you start bedding check the fit and
    remove any pressure points. after this is done you may place a thin piece of shim .(020)
    between the tip of the fore end and the barrel this will help allign the barrel to the
    stock during bedding.

    6= After the bedding has cured and the stock and barreled action has separated
    then you can float the barrel to what ever clearance you desire or the stock will allow.

    7= Before placing the barreled action in the stock for final checking and torque look at the
    crown and see if it is sharp and there are no nicks or scraches. If there are you should
    get it recowned.

    8=Last but not least is the trigger. it should be crisp and clean when it breaks with no over
    travel. I would recomend no less than 2 lbs for a hunting rifle to be safe and if you have
    never adjusted a trigger don't be afraid to ask someone NOTE!! I do not recomend adjusting
    the sear.

    I know this was more than 5 things to do but I felt the need to finish the project with a rifle
    ready to shoot.

    All of these things are automatic when building a custom rifle and will work as long as you
    have a good barrel and good ammunition for a factory rifle.This is a good way to start
    learning gunsmithing And with time you can become a good gunsmith once you understand
    what is required for accuracy and dependability.

    It is much harder to make a poor performing factory shoot well than to build a custom rifle
    that shoots well because with a custom rifle you have all of the best parts to work with
    and there is a lot of satisfaction in making a silk purse out of a sows ear.

    This is just the method I use and is basic smithing . But by taking it step by step it
    eliminates unnessary work and cost.

    Sorry about the spelling and grammar but I dislocated my right shoulder and had to type
    this left handed .

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  2. MagMan

    MagMan Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    JE that is a good read and it will get plenty of people on the right track.

  3. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Very good read and description , that sounds like your basic "accurizing" package that alot of smiths do on factory guns. You would be amazed at the guns that are brought back to life simply buy cleaning them also the guns whos accuracy was destroyed by improper cleaning where the crown was nicked by the cleaning rod.

    I personaly do everything listed above when sombody brings me a gun that won't shoot , 99% of the time a good bedding job , clean crown , and trigger adjustment will cure some problems if the barrel is clean.
    I was brought a rifle (15+year old Rem 700 in 7mm Mag) that was sent out for an "accurizing package" and still shot no better than when it left , i checked everything out and all looked good so i looked down the barrel and it looked like a sewer pipe !! several hrs of cleaning with Sweets762 then what seemed like millions of patches of JB Bore cleaner the barrel was clean and the rifle shot better than it ever had.
    So remember no matter what you have done to the gun if the bore is dirty then it probably won't shoot.
  4. Slopeshunter

    Slopeshunter Well-Known Member

    Apr 27, 2006
    Wow JE, thanks for taking the time to write that with your left hand. That must have taken a while. Good advice.

  5. koginam

    koginam Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Excellent article for the guy that wants to start doing his own gunsmithing.
    I would add only that the stock fitting the shooter as well as the type of stock for the guns intended use is very important. A stock that is correctly fitted to the shooter helps with recoil and sighting.
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    This is true and should be added to my post because it is very true on any
    rifle,pistol or shot gun.

    The way I check for fit is to have the person close there eyes and throw the rifle
    or any other weapon up in the most comfortable position and open there eyes
    with out adjusting there head and eye position.

    If it is the right fit then you should be perfictly lined up with the scope,sights or the
    vented rib of a shotgun.

    DO this 4 or 5 times and you can determine what it will take to make it fit (Drop,cast
    length of pull ,ETC).

    The type of build,(Neck or no neck) scope (40mm 50mm or 56mm objective ) and even
    most common shooting position (Standing or prone )can make a huge differance.

    Thanks for the comments and every one feel free to add more comments after all
    this post was ment to help others.

  7. koginam

    koginam Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    I do it exactly as you do. Customers are always surprised how much better they shot with a gun that fits them.
    I am in the process of building a try gun for stock fitting, I hope to be able to sell them for around $300.00 instead of the $1500.00 to $2,000.00 they run now, then a smith could afford to have one and set up long guns right.

    One thing I see a lot of people doing is setting up their scope and rings without zeroing the rings. When you use Leopold or Redfield style rings you can zero the scope and rings giving yourself more accuracy potential at long range. First screw the windage knob or screw all the way in, then screw it out all the way counting the clicks or turns. Now divide the clicks or turns in half and screw it back that many turns or clicks. Now the reticle is centered in the scope. Install the scope in the bases and tighten down, at the range fire three shot groups at 25 yards at the smallest dot you can see, (don't hit the dot hit an inch below it) to adjust windage use the two screws on the rear base, aim at the dot and have someone loosen one side and tighten the other side until the cross hairs are in the center of the 3 shot group. Once you are hitting the point of aim at 25 yds. move the target out to 100 yds. and start over. I go out to 300 yds. 100 yds. at a time. Always use the rear screws to move the windage you will find that on windless days no mater how far you shoot the bullet will be in line with the vertical cross hair. Now you only have to worry about elevation.
  8. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    J.E. very good summary.

    Hope you find your shoulder.;)
  9. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Thanks ROY!!!

    I found it but it's pretty beat up and not very usefull at the moment.

  10. cva54

    cva54 Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2007
    VARY GOOD wished i found this a year ago have done all most all of this to mine not in that order ( had to do it the hard way ) the only thing left is recrown so far it works wondres my rifle is 57 years old my boy is going to love it some day