All About Guns Tips about Gunsmithing

French Military Rifle Restoration (1874)

All About Guns Tips about Gunsmithing

Some good tips on how to do a 1911A1 Wide-Spur Hammer Installation

All About Guns Tips about Gunsmithing

The Great Remington Rolling Block Buffalo Gun Project, Part 2 By Dave Morelli

After I fitted the barrel, I wanted to shape and taper it for looks and to reduce the weight.
After setting up the mill, I used a facing tool to remove a great deal of material — about 1 pound of metal was shaved off — and to give the barrel a more streamlined shape. I still had to draw-file and sand the barrel, but I liked the resulting look much more than when it had a slight taper from the box. It also took off some of the front weight.
I cut off about 4 inches — giving me a 30-inch barrel — and dialed it up in the lathe to face and crown the muzzle. A flat face was machined and it was crowned with a deep 45-degree taper. Brownell’s sells crowning tools that can be used without a lathe, but the lathe was handy, so I used it for the crowning job. Whichever method you use, the crowning job is critical for accuracy. The face of the rifle must be perfectly perpendicular to the bore so the bullet exits the pipe evenly. The crown recesses this edge to protect it from damage.
Proof Testing
With the barrel chambered and installed, I wanted to proof-test my work. Headspace depends on the base of the case sitting against the rolling block and how tight the block fits against the hammer surface. This is the base of the action’s strength. I was happy with the way everything fit, but I still wanted to proof it, so I put the old stock on the rifle.
My proof-tester is simple: I use a spare tire as a base and strap the action to it with ratchet tie-downs. Then, I point the muzzle into a safe backstop and fire the action from a distance with a string. I had to load some new cases because the cartridges I had for my Sharps were not full-sized, and apparently, its chamber is a bit larger than the new chamber in my Rolling Block.
I loaded four of my pet smokeless loads and carefully measured the cases for a comparison after firing. The proof-test went well, and the cases measured out, showing no signs of headspace problems or excessive pressure.
Stock Work
It was time to stock the rifle. TreeBone Carving has some of the prettiest wood I’ve seen for rolling blocks. I told George Peterson, owner of TreeBone, I was trying to duplicate a Rolling Block Sporting Rifle but also wanted to shoot cowboy long-range events and possibly hunt with it. He recommended a walnut stock with a shotgun-shaped butt.
I could inlet the original buttplate or put a plain metal buttplate on the rifle to be historically correct. I ended up putting a rubber recoil pad on the rifle to protect it (and me) and will probably have to make a hard, more authentic buttplate for shooting cowboy events.
Brownell’s carries TreeBone’s walnut version of that stock, so I figured I could always fit a prettier piece of wood on the gun later. I didn’t really want a high-gloss finish.
TreeBone stocks require about 90 percent fitting to the action, and almost anybody with some tools should be able to do the job. Rolling block actions differ a bit in stock fit, and this one was more difficult. I have a Danish action with a flat-angled fit, in which the action meets the gripped part of the stock. The Remington No. 5 has two angles that must be negotiated.
The stock slipped up almost to home position before I did anything. My most important tools were a triangle file, flat file with one blank edge, fordum or dremel tool, and a variety of sandpaper matched to a sanding block. You can’t see some surfaces when fitting the stock, and candle soot helped me find where the high spots had to be relieved.
I put soot on the action and filed a bit off where the stock rubbed it. With a lot of fitting and filing, the stock will eventually slide up tight and right. After it’s in place, you can drill the receiver tang-screw hole in the right spot.
The forearm grip comes cut to fit an octagonal barrel. It was very close to the barrel I shaped but needed some minor fitting. The forearm was not drilled for an attaching screw, and I had to position and drill it. A brass escutcheon was then bedded in the stock where I planned to put the screw — and a hole was threaded into the barrel.
It’s critical that you make the threaded hole in the exact spot, or it won’t fit correctly. I used a drill press to create the hole. Be careful not to go too deep; there’s enough meat in the barrel, but it’s very easy to make it too thin. You can set up a drill press or mill to stop at the correct depth.
Find the center of the barrel flat more precisely by using the calibrated table on a mill. After I found the hole and drilled, I used a bottom tap to tap the hole to the correct thread right in the mill vise. The bottom tap allowed me to cut as many threads as possible into the shallow hole.
After the hole was completed and the forearm screwed to the barrel, I wanted to strengthen the stock on both pieces by glass-bedding it where it fit to the metal.
The glass fills voids in the wood from carving and provides a stronger, tighter fit. The finished fit of a glass-bedded stock gives a rifle a professional look. Acraglas with a bit of coloring for the finished stock shade was the ticket.
I knew I would shoot the rifle before I did the finish bluing, and I didn’t want to stain the stock with dirt, sweat and cleaning solvents, so I put a couple coats of Tru-Oil on it for protection. That also gave me an idea of what shade to tint the Acraglas. I also fit the stock with the recoil pad so it would protect the butt and my shoulder in pre-finish shooting sessions. The rifle was really starting to take shape, and I liked the look of the stock.
Sighting Up
A set of sights was the only thing I still needed. Most cowboy long-range rifle side matches are 500 yards or closer. Still, I needed some drop compensation for longer work.
I studied sporting rifles in Remington Rolling Block Firearms by Konrad F. Schreier Jr.. This book features vintage Remington rifle ads, including options. The rear sight common to the guns was the Rough and Ready sight on the rear, which was an open-notched sight with a flip-up peep that can be adjusted 1.5 to 2 inches for elevation.
A blade front sight was common in the day, and Remington also made a Beech sight, which was a blade with a flip-up hooded post that could be used with the peep rear.
Montana Vintage Arms makes many quality sights, but its Rough and Ready replica seemed to be the right choice. I complimented it with the company’s version of the Beech front sight.

The front sight comes with a dovetail fit, and the Rough and Ready can be dovetailed or screwed in place. I used the screw-down model for my rifle, but if I had it to do again, I’d go with the dovetail model because it gives you some windage adjustment on the rear sight.
The front sight is dovetailed, so I adjusted my windage there. Montana Vintage Arms also makes high-quality long-range Soule sights and old-time scope sights it calls MVA scopes.
You can easily cut dovetails on a mill with a dovetail cutter. I measured the dovetail on the combination Beech front sight, and then took a couple of passes with the mill to cut the slot slightly smaller than the base.
The fit was finished by hand with a file, and it was perfectly tight. I have fitted dovetails without a mill by cutting the slot in the barrel with a hacksaw. Then, I’ve roughed the slot out with a file and finish-fitted it with a triangular file to create the dovetail. It takes longer, but if done carefully, it’s just as precise
With the sights on, it was time to put the gun together and see how it shot. The rifle still needed to be final polished and blued, and the stock had to be sanded and stained, but I figured a range session would tell me if I chambered and muzzled it correctly. If figured it would be better to redo metal work before the final finish.

The first session was a rough sight-in affair using a proven smokeless load. I discovered that the bullet I had cast was long enough to touch the rifling, as evidenced by marks on the lead when I took a live round out of the chamber. At 100 yards, the gun required just a small sight adjustment to make fist-sized rocks disappear. It was time to develop a pet load for the rifle and put it on paper. It had a good start.
For the second session, I loaded some of the LaserCast 500-grain bullets with a semi-wadcutter nose. I loaded them to the same length as the cast round-nose bullet, but the taper nose of the wadcutter was narrower and did not quite touch the rifling. The bullets showed promise in the rifle. The combo was tried on the 200-yard gong after a cowboy practice match.
After figuring the adjustment for the drop, hitting the gong consistently was just a matter of pulling the trigger. I’m really looking forward to developing a load, because the gun is accurate enough to make it work.
Finishing Touches
I planned on finishing the rifle so it looked like something from the rolling block’s heyday. I went with a plain walnut stock, which would have been standard on hunting guns. Some engraved custom guns had nice wood on them, but those were more common at uppity gun clubs or target matches. The original stock on my gun had a very dark stain, which seems common for firearms from that time.
I sanded the Tru-Oil off of the stock and darkened the wood with Mini Wax Dark Walnut Stain. Tru-Oil is a great finish, and I use it often. However, it would not darken the wood as much as I wanted.
After the first coat of Mini Wax, I saw many scratches and tool marks I couldn’t see when the wood was plain sanded. It took several coats and some sanding to get all the scratches out, and the multiple coatings filled the wood grain with the stain and protectants.
The Mini Wax retained the dull look I was seeking, and some light work with steel wool gave me the finish I wanted. Taking the time to apply several coats alternated with fine sanding did the job.
I really had a dilemma with finishing the metal. Many of the original rolling blocks came with a case-colored hardening on the receiver. I could send the action to a shop for that finish.
However, I had recently seen a rifle with a shiny blue receiver and a less shiny finish on the barrel, and I liked how that looked. A dull blue finish and glare-free barrel would be practical for hunting and sighting, but the shiny finish really stuck in my mind.

Finishing metal is easy and can be done with emery cloth and steel wool. I view polishing as gradually putting finer scratches in the metal until they have a mirror finish. I started with 80-grit sandpaper to remove tool marks on the barrel and some bad pits on the receiver.
Actually, I removed three really bad pits with a file and then formed the metal back with sandpaper. I was careful not to change the lines of the receiver or wear any writing. The only factory writing on this action was on the tang, which had no huge pits, so I got away with some minor polishing there. It’s easy to round off corners that should remain sharp to keep the original look of the receiver. I then went to 120- , 220- and 320-grit paper.
I took the flats of the barrel down to a 400-grit polish so it blued out shiny, but less so than the receiver. It also will produce less glare on the top flat when sighting. I used a polishing wheel and compound on the receiver to get a very shiny finish that will blue out like a deluxe finish on a custom gun. It’s easy to vaporize a number, letter or lines on the gun with even the finest polishing compounds, so take care.
Polishing is the most important part of the finishing process. Pits left in the metal will appear as white dots, and scratches will make you wish you had taken more time.
The screws on my gun were boogered up a bit, so I carefully filed and sanded the damaged areas and polished them to the same gloss finish as the receiver. I also sanded and blued the rolling block and hammer.
I use hot blue for everything but touch-up efforts. Brownell’s and DuLite Corp. salts provide good results. Hot bluing is a book in itself, but it’s the most durable bluing finish I’ve used.
Worth the Effort

When building your own firearm from an antique — whether sporterizing an old military Mauser or rebuilding a buffalo gun — you take pride in shooting an animal or winning a competition with the finished product.
With the availability of tools and products to make the job easier, anyone can complete a project like this. Even if you farm out some of the work to a pro, there will still be part of you in every hunting trip or shooting expedition with your project gun.
— Dave Morelli is a retired policeman, having served as a patrolman, trainer, SWAT operator and a SAR tracker/trainer. He currently lives in Idaho and writes about various topics, including firearms, hunting, tactical gear and training.
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Well I enjoyed reading it! – The Great Remington Rolling Block Buffalo Gun Project, Part I By Dave Morelli

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, when smokeless powder started to rule ammunition, better steels were developed and used to produce these actions.
They were stronger and withstood the pressures developed by new propellants and cartridges. The rifles were chambered for 7 mm Mauser, .303, .30-40 and other cartridges produced for new-fangled repeating rifles.
These were No. 5 actions, and although the rifles differed in many details — such as the type of sights or length — the action was essentially the same as the No. 1, except it was made with the stronger “smokeless” steel. The parts are interchangeable.
The rolling block came in various other models, but the one I found for my project was a No. 5 in 7 mm. It was a carbine and made circa 1902 to 1905. The rifle was functional, but as I disassembled it to start the project, my desire to shoot it waned. The action was in excellent shape, however, and would be an great base for my project. I began the search for the parts I’d need to rechamber it into a .45-90 “buffler” gun.
The question of caliber was my first decision. I wanted to build a sporting-type rifle, so the .50-70 might have been a period-correct caliber. It was a No. 5 action made of stronger steel, so I could shoot smokeless or black powder.
However, I wanted it in a more common buffalo caliber. I also wanted something for which it was easy to find loading components for making cartridges.
The .45-70 fit that description and is certainly a period-correct caliber. I went with the .45 Sharps, which is more commonly known today as the .45-90. My spaghetti Sharps is a .45-90, and I figured I could easily get parts right at my loading bench.

I have found most of the time it’s better to shoot the .45-90 instead of the .45-70 when you’re using black powder. The extra black powder that fits in the .45-90 case will increase the velocity a bit.
The most accurate smokeless loads in either rifle travel at about the same speed. Some of the new big-case powders will make the pill travel faster, but slowing them from 1,600 to 1,300 feet per second yields better results.
The .45-70 can be loaded faster, but that’s only recommended in the Ruger No. 1 action. I’ve never used that rifle and don’t have information about accuracy when pushing the .45-70 that far. The .45-90 will stay in the safe pressure zone at higher velocities, but accuracy suffers.
Getting Down to Business
After I decided on the caliber, I could start rounding up stuff. I needed a barrel, sights, a stock, a forearm and a .45-90 chambering reamer.
I went to the Brownell’s catalog and found about everything I needed. It carries Green Mountain black-powder cartridge barrel blanks in an octagonal stock. The barrel would have to be sized, threaded, chambered and crowned to the desired length.
It was plenty oversized enough for anything I wanted to do. I could have made it half-octagonal, half-round, or swamped it down to reduce the weight. I liked the full octagonal barrel but ended up tapering it down from breech to muzzle to decrease the weight. I also ended up shortening it to 30 inches before crowning it. The Green Mountain barrel blank was a .458 bore with a 1-in-18 twist.

When I pulled the 7 mm barrel off of the No.5, I saw something new. The barrel threads were square. I knew such threads existed, but I’ve never had to cut them. I had to grind a tool to cut square threads, which turned out to be an easy project. I counted how many threads were inside an inch: 12 tpi.
Next, I measured between and across the threads, and they were around .041 inch. I say “around” because they varied a bit, but only by a few thousandths. I then ground a square tool to those dimensions out of high-speed steel. I gave it a trial run on a piece of aluminum and made a plug that had a Class 3 fit to the receiver. A Class 3 fit has very little wobble.
The machining to fit a barrel blank requires access to a lathe. I have seen barrels on the Internet that were already machined and chambered. If you keep an eye open, you might find barrel that suits your needs.
Some companies offer barreling and chambering with their products, or most local gunsmiths can do that. If you have machining skills but need coaching, Brownell’s tech support guys are always there to help. I’ve found them to be extremely knowledgeable and will point do-it-yourself folks in the right direction.
I turned the barrel stub down to the right diameter and found that the round stub was a bit short for the rolling-block action.
It wasn’t a problem to use the lathe and lengthen the stub and round out some of the octagonal barrel. I like putting my own shoulder on the barrel so everything in the chambering and threading process is on the same plane. I used the old barrel to get it close enough for a hand fit.
When I was ready for threading, I kept the stripped receiver nearby, as the threads were getting close. This is the only way to get a precise fit, and it takes some time to try the threads, take off a few more thousandths and try again until it screws down tight. After the fit is good, you can adjust the receiver to the right position by taking off a few thousandths at the shoulder until it stops level. The breech face will also have to be trimmed to be flush with the back of the receiver to headspace correctly.
After the receiver fit to the barrel, it needed to be chambered. Brownell’s carries a good selection of Dave Manson reamers, which I like. When picking out a reamer for the .45-90, you can choose between lead bullets and copper jackets.
I knew I was going to shoot buffalo matches in cowboy games and would have to use lead bullets. I also planned on doing some elk hunting with the finished rifle and have been happy with the performance of lead bullets in such situations. Those big, slow bullets do not destroy meat from velocity shock; you can eat right up to the hole.
The .458 bore was big enough that I didn’t have to drill out the hole before starting the reamer. You could use a roughing reamer to get closer and then finalize things with a finish reamer.
You won’t finish this part of the job in a few minutes. The process is slow, and you have to remove the reamer often to clear off chips. You’ll also need lots of good-quality cutting oil. I kept the blank in the lathe, lined up the reamer with the tail stock and turned it by hand with a wrench. That kept the reamer lined up precisely with the bore, which is paramount for accuracy.
I was careful not to turn the reamer backward or counter-clockwise, because the chips binding against the cutting edges will dull the reamer.

After the chamber was reamed to the desired length, I fired up the lathe and slightly chambered the edges to knock off the sharpness and keep bullets from snagging when loading. Then, I polished the chamber to a high finish with 600-grit emery and steel wool. I wrapped the abrasive on a properly sized wooden dowel and inserted it into the chamber when spinning it in the lathe. You can also polish it in a vise, spinning the abrasive with a drill motor.
With the barrel chambered, I had to form the breech face to fit the rolling block part of the action and cut the extractor slot. The First No. 1 actions had a straight-eject extractor on the bottom of the chamber.
Later, however, they were redesigned with a rotary extractor. My No. 5 was fitted with the rotary, and I only had to duplicate the position using the old barrel as a guide. I bought a new extractor and it was easy to fit to the rim of the .45-90. Having the old barrel made positioning the cut easy.
While doing the metal work, I tried to decide how to stock the gun and what type of sights I would use.
I wanted to duplicate a sporting rifle and really didn’t want verneer sights because I also planned to hunt with the gun. Montana Vintage Arms makes a period-correct Rough and Ready rear sight that combines an open sight and flip-up peep for distance shooting. For the front sight, I chose the company’s Beech-type combination, which has a blade for open sighting and a flip-up hooded pin for the peep rear sight.
I figured the gunstock would depend on my needs. I would shoot cowboy long-range events and hunt with the gun.
If I just shot competitions with it, the gun would remain in pristine condition. However, hunting would nick a custom-finished stock.
Brownell’s carries a Treebark Carving plain walnut stock for the rolling block action. It is 90 percent fitted and would be correct and practical for the rifle. It has a flat butt and can be fitted with a recoil pad or inletted to a period buttplate. Treebark Carving also offers various woods to fit any level of look.
What’s Next?
After the receiver is barreled and chambered, I usually proof-test guns before I proceed. In the second part of this article, I’ll do that, and shape the barrel, fit the stock and sights, and decide on a final finish. Click Here for Part 2 of this article to see the results of the great rolling block project.
— Dave Morelli is a retired policeman, having served as a patrolman, trainer, SWAT operator and a SAR tracker/trainer. He currently lives in Idaho and writes about various topics, including firearms, hunting, tactical gear and training.

All About Guns Tips about Gunsmithing


All About Guns Tips about Gunsmithing

FN 1910 repair

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Brownells – Pillar Bedding Mauser Receivers

All About Guns Tips about Gunsmithing

Rebarreling a Winchester Model 70 by Bill Marr

Originally introduced in 1936, the Winchester Model 70 is an icon of the American rifle market.  The two most notable features of the original Model 70 were it’s three position safety and non-rotating controlled round feed extractor.
In 1964, Winchester redesigned the rifle and changed it from controlled to push feed.  These newer Model 70s, known as “post-64” rifles, were produced until 2006.  Frowned upon by the pre-64 Model 70 fans for its less refined construction and lack of controlled round feed, the post-64 Model 70s can serve the rifleman well.
My friend brought over his post-64 Model 70 243 Winchester rifle.  The gun spent most of its life serving an across-the-course high power rifle shooter.  The mix of the overbore 243 Winchester cartridge, years of competitive use, and high round count resulted in a shot out barrel.
He didn’t have a new barrel blank, however, he did have an old factory take-off Remington 308 Varmint barrel to install.  Taking a quick look at the barrel and action, it looked like the project would work, so we decided to give it a shot.  REMchester anyone?
The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.
Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.
For use in this project, the following items were ordered from Brownells:

All lathe work is conducted on a Grizzly gunsmith’s lathe.
rosin on barrel
Before we can install a new barrel the old one needs to be removed.  On this rifle, the threads were soaked in Kroil (a penetrating oil that is an essential item for gunsmithing) for a couple of days to make removal easier.  The outside of the barrel is coated in rosin to prevent it from rotating in the barrel vise.
barrel vise insert on barrel
The Brownells barrel vise we’ll be using to remove the barrel from this action holds barrels with interchangeable aluminum bushings to match different barrel shank diameters.
barrel wrench on action
The barrel is secured in the vise and an action wrench is used to unscrew the action.  It is important to make sure the action wrench fits well against the action.
In this case I am using the Brownells action wrench with the universal jaw.  It grabs the flat bottom of the front of the Winchester action.
view of barrel secured in vise with shims
Note the tight fit of the bushing against the barrel.
measuring factory tenon
The factory barrel tenon is measured to determine it’s length and headspace.
checking factory threads
A quick check with the thread pitch gauge confirms the threads are 16 teeth per inch.
measuring action
The action is also measured with a depth micrometer to check the barrel tenon dimensions.  This serves as a check against the dimensions recorded from the factory barrel tenon.
Remington barrel tenon next to Winchester barrel tenon
The factory Remington barrel tenon (left) compared to the factory Winchester tenon (right).  The Remington tenon is longer, has 1 1/16″-16 threads and a .150″ deep bolt nose recess on its face.  The shorter Winchester tenon has 1″-16 threads and no counterbore.
cutting off end of barrel
Barrel tenon’s dimensions in hand, we can start fitting the barrel.
The first step is to remove the old tenon.  I like to use a cold saw.  A cold saw is basically a miter box for steel, the one I have uses a special carbide blade.  It makes short work of barrels, gives a fairly smooth finish, and does not induce heat into the part.
dialing in barrel
The barrel is mounted in the lathe.  Since we only removed the threads from the barrel, the front part of the chamber is still in the barrel.  A dial indicator is used to dial the barrel in on the lathe.
facing barrel in lathe
A facing cut is made across the breech end of the barrel with the high-speed steel 135-degree profile tool.
cutting tenon on barrel
The tenon is cut to length and diameter.  This cut was made with a 135-degree high-speed steel profile tool.
dykem and chamfer
The tenon is coated in Dykem and the end chamfered.
insert tooling comparison
Since I’m threading against the shoulder, I decided to use a lay down carbide threader (left), instead of the high-speed steel insert threader I normally use (right).  Comparing the shapes, the carbide tool can cut closer to the shoulder.
threading barrel tenon
While I normally prefer using the high-speed steel cutter, the carbide does work well.
test fitting action on barrel
A test fit shows the action can screw snugly against the barrel tenon.
chambering set up 2
The chamber is now cut with a Manson live pilot reamer.  The reamer is fed with a MT3 blank held in the tailstock.  This pusher set up allows the reamer to float in the bore and follow what remains of the factory chamber.
measuring headsace with micrometer
The headspace is initially checked with the go gauge and a depth micrometer.
feeler gauge for measuring headspace
As the headspace gets closer to the final dimensions, it can be measured with feeler gauges measuring the space between the bolt and action screwed onto the barrel with the go gauge in place.
finsished chamber
A view of the tenon after the chamber has been cut to depth.
botl closes on go and not nogo
The bolt handle should close easily on go gauge, and stay open on the nogo gauge (above).
radius cut on barrle to help feed
The last step is to cut a small radius on the end of the chamber to aid in feeding.
reinstalling the barrel
The barrel can now be installed on the action.  For this task the barrel is secured in a barrel vise and the action wrench is used to torque the action on.
headspacing Wicnhester closes on 1.630 not on 1.631
One last headspace check.  For final inspection I use a .001″ match headspace gauge set.  In this case, the bolt closes easily on the 1.630″ gauge (SAAMI minimum) and stays open on the 1.631″ gauge (.001″ over SAAMI minimum)- the rifle is chambered to minimum headspace.
winchester barreled action next to old barrelIMG_9274
The assembled rifle looks good pretty good.  One day we will do something about the green paint on the barrel.
The real question is how does it shoot?  When he headed to the range with the REMchester, the first few groups weren’t too shabby!165 grain Sierra GameKing over Varget, looks like a keeper!
remchester 308 rebarrel group
A 200 yard ladder test with the 165 grain Sierra GameKing and H4895 showed promise as well (below).
165 SGK 200 yard ladder test
The project came along better than we had expected.  What a great way to give new life to a worn out rifle and keep a used barrel from ending up in the scrap bin.

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Building a Custom 6.5 Creedmoor Precision Rifle by Bill Marr

The flat shooting and light recoiling 6.5 Creedmoor was introduced by Hornady in 2007.
Based on a 308 Winchester case, the 6.5 mm (.264″) Creedmoor fits inside an AR10/ 308 AR platform and feeds well from AICS style magazines.
6.5 creedmoor aics magazine
The Creedmoor is unique among the current crop of 6.5 cartridges such as the 260 Remington and 6.5×47 Lapua in that match grade factory ammunition is readily available and relatively cheap (Lapua sells factory ammunition for the 6,5×47 Lapua, however, it is more expensive and less frequently encountered).  A big plus for newer shooters who don’t reload.
6.5 Creedmoor is a great option for custom bolt action rifles.  A rifle chambered in 308 Winchester can simply be re-barreled for the Creedmoor.
All other parts, including the magazine system, will work. Unlike some other 6.5mms, such as the 6.5×284 Norma, reported barrel life is relatively long (typically around 4,000 rounds if moderate loads are used- Sin City Precision has a picture of a shot out 6.5 Creedmoor barrel at 2,200 rounds, but state they loaded it hot).
In this post, I’ll be building a custom 6.5 Creedmoor rifle.  The heart of a precision rifle is the action, and for this project, a Surgeon 591 short action will be used.
Surgeon 591 ehection port and anti bind rail
The Surgeon 591 action is a popular choice for custom gun builders.  A one piece bolt, integrated rail and recoil lug provide an excellent foundation for custom rifles.
Here are the specifications from Surgeon:
All 591 actions are built with an integral .250” recoil lug and 20 MOA 1913 picatinny rail that runs the full length of the action. A shrouded, side mounted bolt stop is integrated to help prevent accidental releasing of the bolt.
In the middle of the left bolt raceway is an anti-jam rail. The purpose of this rail is to prevent a round from lodging in the raceway when single loading the rifle through the ejection/loading port.
The raceway on the right hand side has an anti-bind rail just below the ejection/loading port. The purpose of this rail is to insure smooth bolt operation as the locking lug passes through the loading port.
The 591SA will work in conjunction with any stocks made for the Remington 700 short action with little to no modification as well as triggers and feeding systems.
right side surgeon 591
I ordered the following parts from Brownells for this project:

I also be using some specialized tools and materials from Brownells:

The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.
Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.
1 measuring surgeon 591 action
The first, and most important step is to measure the action to determine the barrel tenon and headspace dimensions.  I use a depth micrometer for this critical task.
3a barrel through headstock3b chamber end in spider
The barrel is placed in the headstock of the lathe.  A spider (four screws spaced at 90 degrees) on each end of the headstock are used to gimbal the barrel so the bore is concentric with the lathe.
5a dialing in bore
A range rod is used to dial in the barrel.  I normally start with a .001″ indicator and work down to a .0001″ indicator.
5c dialing in opposite end
The muzzle end of the barrel is dialed in.
6 squaring end of barrelOnce both ends of the barrel are dialed in and run true, I use a high-speed steel insert tool to face the end of the barrel and zero the lathe’s digital readout (DRO).
8 turning tenon to diameter
The tenon is turned to the proper length and diameter with a high-speed steel cutter.  A micrometer, shown here, is the proper tool to measure the outside diameter of a cylinder, like the barrel shown here.
9a tenon dykem and chamfered
The tenon is coated in Dykem layout fluid.
9 setting up for threading
The high-speed steel insert threading tool is set up in the lathe.  The compound is set at 29.5 degrees and a center gauge is used to make sure the cutter is properly aligned.
9b tenon threaded for action
Threads are cut at 16 TPI.
10 test fit action
I take the time to test fit the action.  It should thread on smoothly, with little play. I put a little grease on the threads prior to screwing in on, this prevents the surfaces from galling and the action from getting stuck on the barrel.
11 cleaning up threads
high-speed steel 35 degree profile tool is used to clean up the rear of the tenon.
12 bolt nose recess set up
I use a .705″ form tool in a Manson floating reamer holder to cut the bolt nose recess.  The dial indicator on top of the tailstock is resting against the spring clamp.  It helps determine the depth of cut.
12a complete bolt nose recess
The finished bolt nose recess (note: the threads look much better in person than they do in the pic above).
13a adjusting PTG reamer stop against gauge
Now it is time to set up to ream the chamber.  I like using a PTG reamer stop.  The stop allows the depth of cut to be adjusted in .001″ increments.  For the initial setting, the go headspace gauge is held against the reamer, and the stop adjusted a little short.
14 drilling muzzle for chamber flush
I’ll be using a chamber flush system on this barrel.  The system attached to the muzzle with a 1/8 NPT fitting.  I use a cordless drill and a Q drill to make the clearance hole for the tap.
14a tapping muzzle for chamber flush
The 1/8″ NPT tap is used to cut the threads.
14b chamber flush union installed
And the threaded end of the chamber flush system is attached to the barrel with some Teflon tape to ensure the pressurized oil doesn’t leak.
13 reaming set up
On this project the reamer is held in a Manson floating reamer holder.
15 chamber flush while chambering
With the oil flowing in one direction through the barrel, the reamer makes short work of the cut. I use Do-Drill cutting oil and it works like a champ.
16 measuring head space with gauge and depth mic
When the reamer stop contacts the end of the barrel, the chamber is cleaned and the go gauge inserted.  A micrometer is used to check the headspace.
16a measuring headpsace with feeler guage and action
As the headspace gets closer to the finished dimension, I start screwing the action back on to the barrel with the headspace gauge in the chamber.  A feeler gauge can then be used to measure the gap between the front of the action and the shoulder of the barrel.  This dimension is how much deeper the chamber must be cut.
17a handle closes on go
When the chamber is cut to the correct depth, the bolt will close on the go gauge…
17 bolt stays open on no go…and stay open on the no-go gauge.
18 radius on edge of chamber and recess
Finally, the edge of the chamber is broken and a radius is cut around the bolt nose recess.  This radius will assist in feeding.
19 dial in muzzle edge
The barrel is reversed so the crown can be cut.  Initially, I dial in off the outside diameter of the barrel.
20 square muzzle
The barrel is faced.
21 dial in muzzle bore
A range rod is inserted, and the muzzle is dialed in off of the bore.
22 plunge cut crown 90 thou deep
I make a plunge cut, .090″ deep.
22a compound set at 45
With my compound set at a 45 degree angle, I slowly retract the boring bar, this cuts the “pull back” of the crown.
24 use 45 counterbore
A light cut is made with a 45 degree counterbore to break the sharp edge of the crown.24a finsihed crown
The finished crown.
torque barrel 2
The barrel is removed from the lathe and cleaned.  It is torqued onto the action and checked again with go and no-go gauges.  The is barrel secured in a Farrell barrel vise for this operation.
cleaning stock
Time to prep the stock for bedding.  I read somewhere that bedding a rifle was all about the foreplay, this couldn’t be more correct in my experience.  First step is to make sure everything fits.  Once this is accomplished, the stock surfaces are degreased- this is a critical step.
tape surgeon recoil lug #2
The action is degreased prior to bedding to allow the masking tape to adhere to the recoil lug.  I use 3M fine line tape for the sides and a piece of masking tape for the front.  The recoil lug should only be bedded along the rear surface.
tape barrel to center in stock
A few layers of masking tape are used to center the barrel in the barrel channel.  This is also a good time to check that everything fits in the stock one last time.  Sometimes, you’ll encounter stocks with a fairly tight lug inlet and the tape on the lug will prevent the action from seating.  You don’t want to figure this out the hard way while your epoxy is getting ready to set.
release agent
Ample release agent is applied to the metal parts.  I like the Acra-Release Aerosol from Brownells.  At this point I also apply modeling clay to any voids I do not want filled with epoxy.  In addition to making clean up easier, filling the voids with clay prevents mechanical lock up of the action to the stock.
clay snake in front of lug
I like putting a little clay snake in front of the recoil lug to make clean up easier.
apply marine tex
The Marine-Tex is carefully mixed and applied to the bedding surfaces.
placing action in marine tex
The stock is lowered into place.  I screw the bottom metal to the action with the standard stock screws.  I find this is the best method and works better than longer screws.
cleaning up excess epoxy
A little bit of time with some cotton swabs and paper towels and the action is cleaned up.
milling away excess marine tex
Once the Marine-Tex has been allowed to cure for at least 24 hours, the action is removed from the stock.  The excess bedding compound is cleaned with an end mill in the milling machine.
bedding cleaned up on the mill
The two bottom metal screw holes will typically have some epoxy in them.  I chase these holes with a chucking reamer to clear this out.
The action and stock are ready to be finished.  I coated the metal parts of this rifle with black Cerakote. The stock was coated in olive drab Duracoat.
BEAST front creedmoor
6.5 creedmoor front 5
6.5 creedmoor rear left
The excellent Nightforce BEAST 5-25×56 FFP scope finishes this rifle off.  Does it shoot?
6.5 creedmoor 136 scenar 5 shots 264 inches
Yes it does!  Five rounds of 136 grain Scenar-L in Hornady brass at 100 yards, prone, from a bipod with rear bag.
The rifle shoots like a dream. The Surgeon action cycles smoothly, the Timney trigger has a crisp break and the Nightforce BEAST provides an excellent sight picture.  All with the moderate recoil of the 6.5 Creedmoor.  I think I have a new go-to rifle!
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