Bought braked rifle, bullets keyholing!

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by sambo3006, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    I picked up a rifle on gunbroker. Seller said in auction that he would provide the name of gunsmith to winning bidder, he never did. Long story short, I bore sighted and couldn't get on paper at all. Tried again the next day with more ammo and finally got on a great big piece of cardboard at 50 yards. Only problem is that the bullet went through sideways. This was a 30 cal 200 gr AB out of a 1 in 10" twist barrel. I figured that the muzzle brake might have been installed incorrectly and the bullet was kissing it on the way out so I took it off and proceeded to keyhole another bullet!
    I called the guy and he gave me the runaround but that is another story. I figured it just needed to be recrowned but when I threaded the brake back on I could see that it was wobbling around. Looks like The threads and all need to be chopped off and the barrel recrowned. It didn't kick too bad without the brake so I probably won't spend the money to have it rethreaded.
    Does that sound like the next step or are there any other possible causes of the horrible keyholing? I'm sending it to a gunsmith who does barrel and brake work and he is going to check everything out. Looking to take the lemon I got and make it into lemonade!

    Thanks!

    Sam
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  2. lazylabs

    lazylabs Well-Known Member

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    Did you actually measure the twist to verify 1 in 10? The guy may not be totally honest... You could always try some 150's just to veryify it will stabilize anything.
     

  3. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    Care to mention a name so the rest of us have a heads up/buyer beware on the seller?
     
  4. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

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    As mentioned the first step is verifying what twist you have.

    Two things are going to cause a projectile to impact on it's profile. either insufficient twist or a collision between the bullet and something outside of the barrel. (in this case your brake)

    A brake will show signs of this right away. If you have bright shiny copper streaks then you know it's this.

    Measuring the twist of a barrel is as complicated as a cleaning rod, a tape measure, piece of tape, and 5 minutes of your time.

    Shove a patch in the bore till it bites. Make a flag with a piece of tape back by the handle of the cleaning rod. Be sure to attach it to the rod and not the handle. Measure the distance from the back of the handle to the rear most part of the tang. Just eye ball it and get it close.

    Now push your rod through until your flag makes one complete rotation. Measure again using the same procedure. Subtract one from the other and you have your ROT.

    If your shooting the heavy 30 caliber bullets in anything less than a 10ROT then that is your likely culprit. Be sure to check the brake though as it could be a combination of the two.

    Good luck,

    Chad
     
  5. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, thought about checking the twist and I will but I am at work right now. There were some copper streaks on the orifice of the brake, Chad. Even a 1 in 12" twist should stabilize those bullets enough to not go completely sideways at 25 yards I would think. Either way something is screwy and the brake definitely wobbles when being threaded on and off. There is a little spacer washer on the base of the threads for indexing and when the brake is tightened down the slight gap there looks uneven so either the brake is crooked, sloppy threads or the milling of the barrel shoulder at the base of the threads is crooked. None of those things would cause keyholing with the brake off, though.
    Simplest scenario is that it is a really slow rifling twist which still makes it useless to me for long range elk hunting. If that is not the case, I'm hoping that cutting and recrowning will do the trick.
     
  6. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    Just had a buddy check it for me, it is indeed 1 in 10" twist. The seller emailed me back and claimed that Shilen had threaded and short chambered it and crowned it. I doubt I'll have any luck with them since I am the second owner. It has to be the crown. Unless the smith sees anything else it could be, the threads are getting lopped off and it will be recrowned. Even if that isn't it, not an expensive job.

    I think I have learned my lesson. I am just going to stick with the gunsmiths on this site and have one of those guys build me a sweet long range rig once I clear up some $.
     
  7. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

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    I would start cleaning the barrel with some bore cleaner and brush the crap out of it than take it to a gunsmith and have him run a bore scope down the barrel. The only barrel I have ever seen key-hole at 50 yards was a Russian rifle from Korea. at 50 yards and it tumbles? I would guess that barrel is filthy or its wore out. Soak the Barrel, I know of a guy who used automotive rubbing compound to lap out a bad rarrel( in no way do I endorse this) you may need to lap the Barrel its not a sin...it may help.
    What make of rifle is this?
    I play around with Springfields and many have never had a barrel change and they never tumble at 100 yards +.

    Neska Chad is right on..

    What calibre and make of this rifle? lets hope its not shot out.
    If you have a crown problem you might see this right away.
    If its shot out buy a high quality Barrel.
    Hey! Get back with us please.
    Keith.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    With only .020 thousandths clearance through the brake if it wobbles when screwed on
    my guess would be that the break is the problem.

    I had The same thing on a rifle that I bought for a don,er . when I unscrewed the break
    it was badly out of alignment and upon closer inspection the barrel had been threaded with
    a die nut instead of on a lathe. the guy had done it himself and screwed it up so he sold
    it to me for next to nothing.

    While looking at it I noticed the copper fouling in the break and knew there was a problem
    but did not need the barrel or the break and ended up with a very good action and stock.

    One other possibility is that the "smith" screwed up and installed the wrong barrel. I know
    it sounds impossible but I was ask to check out a friends rifle that he bough from a gun shop
    and found it had a bore dia. of .312 instead of .308. and after he confronted the gun shop
    owner he said it had a like new military barrel but he though it was a 30 cal.

    With a 1 in 10 it should work with the break off. so it will be interesting what the problem
    really is so please let us know.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    It keyholed with the brake off also. It is a 1 in 10" twist but I haven't checked the bore diameter although I had thought about it. It is over at my FFL's house right now waiting to go to a gunsmith but I might have him check the bore if he is able.
     
  10. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    We have a winner!
    The stinking bore diameter is .338! The necks of the fired cases measure around .350 OD, right between the OD's of fired .308 and .338 cases and if you look close you can see the faint impression of rifling on the outside of the neck. What we have is a .338 blank that was reamed with a .300 RUM reamer, so there is no throat.
    I managed to track down the gunsmith no thanks to the seller. He was very appologetic and offered to make it right. It is packed up to ship off right now. The brake which was put on later has a 30 cal orifice. I'm going to get it opened up to .338 and assuming the barrel is okay it will be set back and rechambered to 338 RUM.
    Unbelievable. I guess sooner or later you will see it all. I'm just glad it was figured out and no chunks of brake came off! From now on I am going to verify chamber and bore diameter on any used custom I purchase. I'll update with how it shoots when I get it back.
     
  11. JUDD

    JUDD Well-Known Member

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    Now thats quality control....I gotta say I wouldn't have the warm and fuzzy bout sending it back to the same smith to get it fixed...I would try to get the money and send it elswhere

    Thank god you figured out the problem before anything bad happened..Good luck
     
  12. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    +1
    How can you screw up that bad, I would think that the smith would have to check the bore diameter at some point, like say choosing a pilot for the reamer or when boring out the brake. WOW :rolleyes: good luck!
    I was sent the wrong barrel for a 40-65 rolling block and I noticed it while I was inspecting the barrel with a micrometer, just to check it out before doing any work to it and making it nonreturnable.
     
  13. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    Wow you are lucky very lucky it could have turned ugly. I'm curious did you bother to ask the smith why he didn't test fire and if he did how come he didn't see there was a problem...In all likelihood it probably wasn't test fired. if your quite sure the seller new this or new something was seriously wrong with the rifle then I'll go back to what I said in an earlier post...Care to mention a name so the rest of us have a heads up/buyer beware on the seller? Also, if you are going to send back to the original smith then I'd make sure he knows you want him to test fire and provide you with the results.
     
  14. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Sambo, I'm glad you're OK and that you got if figured out. That is hard to believe. Keep us updated.