Barrel swaps

Hecouldgoalltheway

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Alright fellas, please use small words and talk to me like I'm a child. I have no knowledge of this subject at all. I want to know what I need to purchase so that I can do my own barrel swaps on bolt action rifles at home. I have 3 semi-custom barrels not installed on actions right now, and my lgs gunsmith has had one of them since August. I just started the machine tool program at my local tech school today, and I plan to follow that up with a gunsmith school once I wrap that up, so, I have access to all sorts of precision equipment, and no idea how to use any of it yet. I will have follow up questions about reaming chambers and such, but for now, I just need the specifics on what I need to buy to swap barrels. Thank you, I really appreciate the help.
 

shortgrass

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Barrel vise and action wrench. The action wrench should be an 'outside', wrap-around type, not an inside. Maybe you can make these in machine tool class. With some proper research and planning you can make far better than you can buy. What GS school are you planning to attend? Last I was aware, all have waiting lists.
 

Hecouldgoalltheway

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Barrel vise and action wrench. The action wrench should be an 'outside', wrap-around type, not an inside. Maybe you can make these in machine tool class. With some proper research and planning you can make far better than you can buy. What GS school are you planning to attend? Last I was aware, all have waiting lists.
Thank you. I haven't even researched the gunsmith schools yet to be honest. I know I'll be in the machine tool course until the end of the year, and I didn't even consider that I wouldn't be able to walk right into a gunsmith school. I need to figure that out. Is there one that you might recommend?
 

Hecouldgoalltheway

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Also, do you know how I might go about getting a technical drawing for a good action wrench design? I've been a millwright and fabricator for years, and I've made plenty of tools. Surely I can whip up an action wrench..
 

shortgrass

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As you are a Tennessean, Montgomery Community College is close (Troy, N.C.). Trinidad State Jr. College in Trinidad, CO., Colorado School of Trades, Murry State College in Tishomingo, OK., just to name a few. There are several more, just search "Gunsmithing Schools". There's 1 in AZ, and 1 in Cal., another in N.C., and 1 in Pittsburg, PA. Probably some I am forgetting in my list. The Brownells catalog has them listed , too...... A 2yr. , in-resident school is what you want, I'd have little faith in the internet/through the mail schools. Any I mentioned can and will put you on course toward the ACGG (American Custom Gunmakers Guild). Just depends upon your aptitude and how far you might want to take it. Trinidad is probably the only one still teaching stock making, although I don't know that as fact. Lots of different directions a man can go with gunsmithing. It ain't all about barreling an action and putting it into a "drop-in" stock.
 
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shortgrass

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I think you're going to find a lot of pent up demand for entering a gunsmithing school,,,,,,, because of the virus outbreak. Many, if not most all, went to "virtual learning". Which can not be the same as having an instructor say, " Here, let me show you what I mean, or how I'd go about doing this". I would almost bet that the gunsmithing departments in these schools had to shut down, as so much is "hands on".
 

Hecouldgoalltheway

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I think you're going to find a lot of pent up demand for entering a gunsmithing school,,,,,,, because of the virus outbreak. Many, if not most all, went to "virtual learning". Which can not be the same as having an instructor say, " Here, let me show you what I mean, or how I'd go about doing this". I would almost bet that the gunsmithing departments in these schools had to shut down, as so much is "hands on".
Good points. I hadn't even considered running into difficulties with getting into a gunsmith school. I'm going to start figuring that out now, and hopefully I'll have a slot somewhere next year. Thank you
 

shortgrass

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I have not checked yet, but I'd bet the NRA Summer Gunsmithing classes, the ones that will be, are full or nearly full. The irony, 30yrs ago, when I started school, there weren't enough students to fill the class. At least the class I was in. They were 2 short, and later 2 more were allowed to enroll. They had to take the classes they missed at the end, instead of the beginning. It handicapped them, not having the first 2 semesters. The internet changed all that. Now, everyone wants to be a gunsmith! Some 'bother' with training, many don't.
 
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shortgrass

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I graduated in '93. 2 yr program. Was the program thorough? I think so. Those 2 yrs gave me a solid 'footing' to build on ( I had 16+ yrs of 'job shop' machining experience before going to school). School will show, ya' don't know what it is that ya' don't know. The 2 that didn't graduate didn't apply themselves to the required work. Several set up shops, but didn't succeed in the business. It's a tough, competitive business, like most businesses are.
 
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shortgrass

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I think you would find that there is far more talk about building higher end custom rifles , using the highest in quality components, than there actually are people who are willing to have those rifles built. I followed a thread on another forum that was about custom bottom metal, the kind that incorporates a hinged floor plate and 'in the bow' release. Gunsmiths who have actually made such bottom metal (and build classic English walnut stocked sporting rifles, hand cut checkering and all) were participants in that thread. In the end, the consensus was there is far more talk of such bottom metal as there are buyers willing to put their money down on such bottom metal. That discussion could apply to many 'custom' components.
 

Hecouldgoalltheway

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Yeah, I think that exists in every market. A whole lot of people who are always.......... just about ready to buy that thing that they will never own..

I don't have any illusions about breaking any new ground, or even selling rifles with my name on them, I just live in an area that has a gunsmith deficit, and I am a good fit for the job.
 

bpctcb

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Get you a copy of “the complete illustrated guide to precision rifle barrel fitting” by John Hinnant. Lots of good info about tools required and techniques.

Then go over to accurateshhoter.com and Benchrest.com where they have gunsmith forums. Read all you can. I’ve read over 100 pages of threads at one and dozens more at the other. Most every question has already been asked and good people like shortgrass have/will answer questions. Read, read, read while you’re waiting to get into gunsmithing school.

If you find yourself hooked on doing your own rifle work (like I am) be warned that it gets expensive. I started by putting a factory 270 barrel on my Rem 700 that had a worn out 30-06 barrel on it. Then I did some remage barrels. Now I buy barrel blanks, contour them, chambered and fit to my receivers that I square up myself. I have $15-20k wrapped in a lathe, tooling, etc.

BP
 
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