stripped threads in action

rockwind

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Joined
Oct 19, 2014
Messages
146
bought new "used" custom rifle that i was told had very little use. love the rifle but it kept shooting weird, like all over the place at 100 and 200 yds. i've put about 40 rounds thru it of good factory ammo on three or four different range sessions. got a couple good groups once, would think i was finally getting used to it, and then the next time i shot, would shoot erratic. kept thinking it was me somtimes, but then i would shoot my 308 rem700 and it would put 3 in the same hole at 200.

long story short, after replacing rings, and scope, it still was doing it. finally, someone says, check the action bolts. now even i know this is common sense and why i didn't do it before is that this is a very expensive rifle almost newly built by a reputable gunsmith.

so i check the action screws.

the front screw simply spins in place, completely stripped. the threaded hole in the bottom of the action is stripped plus the bolt itself is not looking too good. back screw is fine, but doesn't look confidence inspiring.

for those that say "call the gunsmith who built it" i don't know if that is going to be a viable route at this time although communication has been initiated.

my question, how big of a job is it to fix this, do actions bolts get stripped a lot?


i was surprised by how thin the steel was where the threaded hole is, doesn't seem like more than 3/16 of an inch. for such a custom action, i sort of expected a "lug" or a thicker area of steel where the threads go, but whatever. just want it to work.

appreciate any constructive comments.
 

FearNoWind

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Jul 10, 2012
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North Central Valley California
There are a number of things that contribute to stripped threads - whether in an action or other mechanical devices. One is using the wrong bolt/screw and forcing it when it doesn't want to thread in smoothly. Happens a lot with metric screws vs SAE. Another is poor alignment of parts which puts a bind on the bolt/screw during assembly. That's fairly common with action screws. Some guys just refuse to stop turning when threads aren't running as smoothly as they should.
In your case I would not take it back to the guy who worked on it last. That, IMO, is kinda like asking the guy who stole your wallet to loan you ten bucks. :rolleyes:
A qualified gunsmith should be able to find a solution to your problem. The amount of work involved will depend on how badly the threads are damaged. It is not, IMO, a DIY job - unless of course you're a machinest or have a lot of experience with this sort of thing.
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
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10,521
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Texas
I have not seen this but I can understand how the wrong bolt thread could cause it.

I would be very hard to over torque it because of it being a machine screw and having to use socket head or blade screw drivers. Bur stranger things have happened before.

My advice would be to take it to a competent Gun Smith and have him go to a 5/16 screw
and solve the problem.

The action screws should have at least a 5 thread engagement and be torqued correctly and there would be no problem.

J E CUSTOM
 

Hired Gun

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Apr 21, 2003
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1,561
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North Bend, Oregon
Running the bolts dry can cause this if they are taken apart frequently. I would weld it up and redo the hole back to 1/4-28 like it's supposed to be.
 

Hired Gun

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Apr 21, 2003
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1,561
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North Bend, Oregon
If this basic gunsmith skill is not in your skill set you should not attempt it.

Lucky for me it is in mine. It's a common technique for fixing holes in actions and barrels. The bolt head on a Remington is silver soldered to the bolt body and that requires the lugs to be heated 1100 to 1400 degrees. Red hot is 900+. I silver solder bushings in Remington bolt faces when installing M-16 extractors. No issues with getting a little red there.

A tig welder running a small bead will only heat a very small area. Using heat paste helps keep the surrounding area well below red hot. Once set up the whole thing takes 30 seconds.

I have some blown up actions here on my wall of shame. I should do a video on welding up the actions holes on one and rethreading on one sometime.

I saw a Remington 700 that Nathan Dagley converted to a 40x single shot by fully tig welding the bottom up. That is a lot more heat and welding than simply welding up one small bolt hole.
 

rockwind

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Joined
Oct 19, 2014
Messages
146
well, it has become apparent that the person i bought this rifle from stripped out the screw and action and dumped the rifle here on the forum, without mentioning anything whatsoever. the smith has a stellar reputation and told me that the original owner (the guy i bought it from) had been experimenting with different torque levels and had been communicating his experiments to the gunsmith. the gunsmith advised him not to do be doing this. lucky me. all i can say is,

be very careful buying a gun from someone on here. i've bought a few but this is the first problem. kind of shocked.

on the plus side i think i found a very good local smith who is going to go up to a 5/16 very fine thread bolt. the thread engagement is very shallow on this rifle action, and with a 1/4x24, i think only 2 or 3 threads were engaging. the rear screw is only engaging with about 2 1/2 turns before it hits the bottom of the blind hole. the front screw does not have a blind hole.

oh well, just another bump in the road of life.
 

Punisher

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Jan 28, 2014
Messages
709
Location
Kansas
My advice would be to take it to a competent Gun Smith and have him go to a 5/16 screw
and solve the problem.

The action screws should have at least a 5 thread engagement and be torqued correctly and there would be no problem.

J E CUSTOM
I would have done this. And I'd probably have been done in the same time it took you to type this post. But if you have to go to a gunsmith, it's not a hard job, and it will be fairly cheap.
 

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