Is Blue Printing an Action important?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by kc, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    The short answer is "YES"! Price range is ~ $150 +/- $50.
     
  3. partisan1911

    partisan1911 Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Thats the avarage price for any smith who calls longrange hunting home
     
  6. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  7. Kevin Cram

    Kevin Cram Well-Known Member

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    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 :rolleyes: 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
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  8. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Well-Known Member

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    First off define what you are talking about.

    1. for $50- $150 they are not doing a complete blueprinting. Lapping the lugs and facing the receiver maybe and that is about it for most! Nothing is done with the bolt, extractor, tenon threads etc.

    2. True blueprinting is way more than that in work and price and will run a minimum of $300- closer to $500. Here is an example and he did not mention recuting the tenon threads, bushing the firing pin, M16 or Sako extractor etc.

    Blueprinting for Accuracy of Custom Built Rifles

    IMO complete blueprinting is a total and utter waste of "your" money with todays custom actions and their pricing. You have an action that will sell for $350-450 like it is and you are going to spend another $300 plus on it and the moment you walk out of the gunsmiths shop it is worth a maximum of $450. Trued and blueprinted 700s actions sell for $450 as the norm and maybe $500, never higher.

    Tell me why spending $300 plus to gain $50-100 in value passes the common sense test?

    Right now there are too many quality 700 clones that need nothing done to them and you can get them for starting at $825-875. Tooley Orion, Borden, Stillers, Defiance etc.

    They are smoother, better features, more reliable and stronger.

    Now if all you want and can spend is $150 do not expect or say you have a blueprinted action, because you do not. Sure you can get a factory action that is reasonably close starting and you stand just as good a chance as getting one that is way out and will cost way more.

    My Tooley Orion was $850 shipped, SS, side bolt release, fluted bolt that was meloninte coated, threaded extended bolt handle, trued pinned lug, with M16 extractor all standard. You are talking over $300 for just those features on a factory bolt, plus the tolerances were way better than any blue printed action.

    The Kiff replacement bolt will run you about $200 with handle welded to put in a action that you spent $150-300 already, plus the $200 bolt and it is still worth only $450-500 when you walk out the door.

    BH
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  9. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

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    Heck Iam likeing this..we have a post that we need to share, lets keep this rolling.
    there is so much information that many out in the LRH world should know this like the facts of life..we can make mistakes if we don't know what we are doing,, and what we are learning has
    opened up a class many should stop and read, this is important. We strive for exelence in every shot we make, but if the tool is not right we find to late the path of haste has cost us what we work so hard for. Perfection. no less. when we go into the field there is no room for mistakes.
     
  10. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  11. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    I think most smiths who actually do a complete critical surface refinishing; bolt face, nose, lugs, Reciever threads, face, lug abutments. Would tell you that what you are doing is eliminating a source of a potential problem spots with the reciever.

    Take a few surfaces that don't mate up correctly and they can multiply into a rifle that has accuracy issues, which causes customer complaints. I recomend to my customers that the action be blueprinted for top reapeatable accuracy. I do not get into bushing bolts/ sleeving bodies, because after the basic $165 blueprinting package, I feel that on your LR hunting rifle you have an acceptable platform for LR and hunting.

    I just had a very expensive remington come in the shop for 3 barrel set-up, bushed pin hole, sleeved bolt double pinned lug, tac handle, and full BP. The customer said he had $900 into that action. WHY?, buy a quality custom sell the remy and be money ahead.

    Don't get me wrong a remy will make a great rifle, I just don't see the need in getting to carried away with the amount of work to them.

    Of the 50+or so remingtons I have done in the last 2 years, 5 were when the customer insisted on just a skim cut and lap, because so and so said thats all you need, fine I won't argue with someone who listens to the computer jockys over the smith. These guns for the most part shot very well, one customer reports unexplained fliers, go figure. If he chooses to send it back it will get the full BP and a barrel set back. And there lies the problem, do I think it is his ability/loads/scope; or the lack of a blueprint. Sounds like a trouble shooting bitch. If that rifle was BP in the first place that is one variable I could eliminate immediatly. (On a side note small bolt head cartriges like the 223 and 204, tend to do really well regardless if it was just a skim and lap or BP, less bolt thrust/vibrations with the little inherently accurate rounds.)

    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, when finding a smith who will print your action is to ask if it will be single point recut, or done with the " remington reamer and .010" oversized tap." If he is using the tap he is not much of a machinist, and the quality is definatly second rate and not worth $150. I single point trued an action that was reamed and tapped and the tap followed the old threads to the extent that they were still out enough that I took another .008" of material out to true them properly. It's easy to spot an action trued this way, I see it all the time even on this site, some one post pics of there purdy action BP and you can see where the reamer that cuts the lug abutments, also opened up the cylinder of the action betwen the threads and the abutments. It is always a dead give away. And shows a second rate smith is attempting "precision machining"

    Independent of the method used, the end quality is largly dependent on the skillfull set-up/attention used by the smith performing the work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  12. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    Full action trueing of Rem. 700 or Savage . . . . . . $165.00
    (Single point recutting of bolt face, bolt nose, and lugs, lugs abrasive lapped, reciever face and lug abutments recut, action threads recut to approx +/- .010" oversized. (indicated to within .0002" on bolt raceway)).

    Action truing of Savage (minus thread re-cut) . . . . . . $95.00
    (includes single point recuting of action face, lug abutments, and bolt face, lugs abrasive lapped. (indicated to within .0002" on bolt raceway.))

    Action squaring of Rem. 700, Win 70, Savage 110, Ruger 77 . . . . . . $60.00
    (Single point recutting of receiver face, and lugs abrasive lapped).


    This is what I offer in general on my site all single point cut, The Savage package allows no thread recut so customers can still use prefits with nuts.
    Bolt sleeving and pin bushing are a non-issue these days, with KIff bolts available custom fit to a reciever, and at an affordable price.
     
  13. blipelt

    blipelt Well-Known Member

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    Get a good gunsmith and trust what they have to say, end of story! After the build is over he won't be just your gunsmith he will be your friend.

    Brent
     
  14. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect to Chad, who by all indications does great work, there is no way in hell I would take a Rem action and put $800.00 into it.
    I have come to the conclusion after a few years that a custom action is the best way to go as far as product and resale value. I agree with Bountyhunter on this one.
    Orde a custom action setup the way you want it and find a quality smith on this site to chamber it up for you.
    Blipelt's comment about trusting your smith is spot on. They do this for a living, let them steer you in the right direction.