Why take a chance on the reamer when making a custom rifle?

AZShooter

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Hi everyone,

I have been reading threads on rifle builds on several websites for over two decades. It appears that many customs are ordered without specifying details on the reamer. It amazes me that a customer will have the rifle made without asking basic questions on the reamer that is going to be used.

I just read another thread where a guy took possession of a rifle to find the throat is too long and won't shoot the Hornady ammo. (I am talking about a 376 Steyr)

I am sure just like me you have read of someone getting their custom rifle to be disappointed in what they FOUND. Perhaps the throat was too long or the neck clearance was so tight they had to neck turn but didn't want to do that onerous chore. Perhaps the throat angle was such that it wouldn't shoot some kinds of bullets.

To me getting the right reamer is a big part of the build. IMO nothing is worse than having a mystery reamer used by the gunsmith with a surprise.


My friend Dan and I were disappointed in the gunshop offerings we decided to buy our own reamers.
We own 14 to date. Dan and I each own a 284 win reamer. His is for a LA and 180 VLDs mine for a SA with a tight neck and shorter bullets. In addition to have correct specs the reamer will be sharp making a clean chamber.

Just had to get this out there. Maybe others will comment. I did this with hopes that readers will ask questions about the reamer just like they do for the other aspects of their custom build.

Ross
 

sable tireur

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AZShooter,

In the situations where small shops are producing 'custom' rifles for their customers, I'm sure that you'll find generic reamer dimensions which are SAAMI spec and no or few other alternatives.

Most gunsmiths have invested thousands of dollars in reamers of all descriptions and uses. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible for any single gunsmith or even larger shops to afford to have EVERY variations of EVERY cartridge and bullet combination. That's why we go over each chamber for every rifle being planned BEFORE the order is written. And then you would be surpised at how little information the client has with regard to what they want to shoot or need for a specific use. But we keep SAAMI spec reamers on hand as well as many reamers with very specific throat, leade and neck dimensions which have been proven in competition.

Small changes in throating can be accomplished with separate reamers but any major changes will need to have a specific reamer ground to the client's specifications. This results an additional cost to the client since we would not normally need those specs again.

If a client has the knowledge of the specs for their requirements or dummy cartridges constructed with a specific need in mind then we can order a reamer. But the responsibility for cost will fall to that client. With costs approaching or at $200.00 per reamer and more if gauges are required, many with insignificant changes will forgo a custom reamer in favor of an existing combinations of dimensions. Wait time simply fills in with the wait time estimated for completion of a custom stock or barrel order. Usually we get the reamer far ahead of the barrel and way ahead of the stock these days.

In any case, you can feel free to both discuss and have any form of custom reamer ordered for your custom rifle, just be aware of the potential for additional costs.

Regards.
 

FearNoWind

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I'm with you, Ross. When I build a custom rifle I spec. out the reamer, order it myself and provide it (along with copies of all the spec sheets) to the guy doing the setup. That way I know exactly what I've got.
 

ohiohunter

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My smith will split the cost of the reamer w/ you if he keeps it.
 

shortgrass

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My smith will split the cost of the reamer w/ you if he keeps it.
I'll 'eat' the cost of a tool if I know I'll use it again, hopefully multiple times. Any 'special' is on the customer. Many expect the gunsmith to provide that 'special' tool at no extra cost. Ha! Ha! 50% don't have a clue. I already own 71 different reamers, SAAMI spec and popular 'specials' that I've used more than a couple of times. Multiply that 71 x $170 (+ or - those 'specials' always cost more!) for a dollar amount. That doesn't include gauges and throating reamers. Taken the time to explain it to a customer and chances are he won't be willing to 'foot the bill' for that special but will use what's available.
 

Swamplord

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Yup,

That's why I do my own wildcats !
Other than the 300 AAHS (same as Tomahawk) and the 338 EDGE, ( I gave my smith the 338 Norma Mag reamer and gauges)
I have 27 of my own reamers in my wildcats I developed with 5 more coming ... Reamers are cheap and cost the same regardless if existing wildcat or my own ,,,,, still need custom case forming and reloading dies so the only added cost is the reamer and go gauge .....
 

dragman

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While for me I almost always just buy the reamer I want with the specs I want. Remember MOST customs (hell most guns) are bought by people who don't know that much about them. Obviously this isn't me or most people on here, but never underestimate the lack of knowledge or care people have.
 

jrsolocam

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ND
While for me I almost always just buy the reamer I want with the specs I want. Remember MOST customs (hell most guns) are bought by people who don't know that much about them. Obviously this isn't me or most people on here, but never underestimate the lack of knowledge or care people have.
That's a heck of a good post and for sure accurate. I wish I had done that a couple times....
 

AZShooter

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I was fishing all week. Just got back to read the comments. I agree that it isn't cost effective for the gunsmith to stock one off SAMMI spec reamers. I mostly wanted it out there that many guys are missing what I and others think is important in a build.
 

Lefty7mmstw

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It depends.... I'm building my "new" 7stw with a saami spec. Manson reamer... it has the dimensions I want for a field rifle but should be tight enough to get good accuracy from the rifle. If I were to build an 8mm mauser or [email protected] another story... I'd spec. out the reamer and possibly spec. out a different throat to boot. Same with a 45 colt... Dimensions have varied quite a bit on some cartridges, while others are rather cut and dry and re-inventing the wheel really isn't necessary.
 

J E Custom

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Another case for good communications between the owner and smith.

First, If I chamber a rifle with a SAMME spec. reamer that I have there is no charge for the reamer.

If it is a rarely used SAMME spec. reamer I sometimes split the cost with the person and keep the reamer.

If it is a wildcat the owner pays and can keep the reamer unless it is something that I can/may
use in the future then I will split the cost with him.

Something that is very important; No matter what kind of reamer is used, it needs to be identified on the barrel. Example; (SAMME) 280 rem, (wild cat) 280 AI or 280 .312 neck, so a person knows what he is buying/building and can load appropriately.

J E CUSTOM
 

Lefty7mmstw

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Another case for good communications between the owner and smith.

First, If I chamber a rifle with a SAMME spec. reamer that I have there is no charge for the reamer.

If it is a rarely used SAMME spec. reamer I sometimes split the cost with the person and keep the reamer.

If it is a wildcat the owner pays and can keep the reamer unless it is something that I can/may
use in the future then I will split the cost with him.

Something that is very important; No matter what kind of reamer is used, it needs to be identified on the barrel. Example; (SAMME) 280 rem, (wild cat) 280 AI or 280 .312 neck, so a person knows what he is buying/building and can load appropriately.

J E CUSTOM
how detailed would you go??

Ex.

7mm stw
Manson saami spec
8" twist Shilen select match

for my rifle... would you include twist if non-standard? I am going 8" twist...
 

J E Custom

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how detailed would you go??

Ex.

7mm stw
Manson saami spec
8" twist Shilen select match

for my rifle... would you include twist if non-standard? I am going 8" twist...
If you go with a SAMME reamer that's all you need. I highly recommend the SAMME reamer with Standard free bore and throat Just make sure that the smith knows
not to substitute with another reamer. (The Manson reamers are my favorite) and to make sure I recommend that you buy the reamer yourself from Dave so you will get the right chamber.

The 8 twist is a little fast for the STW in my opinion unless you are shooting 175 grain bullets or more. But it really has nothing to do with the reamer.

I recommend a 1 in 9 for bullets 168 and down because the STW can produce some very high velocities and bullet jackets can suffer if rotated to fast. also if you want a Shilen get the select match only.

Sounds like you are on the right track.

J E CUSTOM
 

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