Archive for March 2012

Remington 700 project: Bolt blueprinting

Started on my Remington 700 project this week (March 19). I am putting a lot of attention to detail into this one as I am building it for my wife! This is a brand new action from Remington chambered in .223 Remington. I did contemplate doing this in 5.56×45 but we do not have the correct reamer. (I listed the calibers incorrectly before. My mistake, I am blaming it on the fact that I was working on my Winchester 94!) The first picture shows the action and bolt. The bolt is disassembled as I only need the bolt body during the barreling and chambering process. 

This picture shows the barrel blank. I purchased the barrel from Shilen as they give us a really good trade discount as students. The barrel has a number 6 contour (which means it is pretty thick and quite heavy) and made from chrome moly steel. The twist rate for this is 1:9 to allow for the use of a range of bullet weights.


Here is the action without the trigger assembly. You can also see the recoil lug in the background to the left and center of the picture. The recoil lug helps to control recoil once the action is mounted in a stock. On the Remington 700, this is an extra piece. On the Mauser and FN actions, this part is part of the action.

I started doing all the blueprinting work on the bolt and action. This allows for added accuracy. We use a fixture to mount the bolt in the lathe and then center the work piece just behind the lugs of the bolt. You will see the instruments we use to measure a little further down as we also use them for setting up the barrel. What is measured is known as run-out and shows how well the work piece is centered in the lathe. The more accurate the work is set up, the better it will function. I try for zero run-out but it is not always possible. For this bolt I got it to less than 0.0005 inches (12.7 microns or 0.0127 millimeters).

The next step was to “true” up the back of the bolt lugs. Truing the lugs just means we make sure they are the same height and that they are square to the bolt body. The first picture shows the process, the second shows the result.

This process repeats on the front side of the bolt lugs. This is not always needed as it depends on the action. On the Remington 700 it should be done. Again I am showing a during and last picture.


This is almost all the work on the bolt body for now.

Winchester 94 two piece wood stock

For Basic Stockmaking I chose to put a new stock on a Winchester 94 Black Shadow. Introduced in 1998, this variant of the Winchester 94 was discontinued in 2000. The Black Shadow comes with a black composite stock. The wood for this project I purchased from a former student in the gunsmithing program. The picture shows the wood blank, the original stock and the blank for the fore-end in the background.


The first step was to inlet the top tang:

In this picture I finished the top inletting. The black marks you can see on the wood is from inletting black. Inletting black is applied to the metal part that fits to the wood and shows high spots in the wood that still needs work.


Welcome to my blog! I am a student at Montgomery Community College (MCC) in Troy, NC and hope to graduate with an Associates in Applied Science (Gunsmithing) in 2013. I started in the program in August of 2011 and this blog will showcase some of my work and thoughts as I work towards my degree. At this time, I am about halfway through my second semester of study. The first semester was spent making tools that will be used in gunsmithing. This semester the gunsmithing classes I am taking is Basic Stockmaking and Barrel Fitting and Custom Alterations.


During the course I will be building at least three bolt-action rifles. While I will be working on them until the end of my studies, I will update work on each as it progresses. Rifle #1 is built on a Mauser M48A action and will receive a custom wood stock and chambered in .257 Roberts. Rifle #2 is built on a FN SPR action (pre-64 Winchester 70) chambered in .243 Winchester. The stock will either be a laminate or composite. Rifle #3 is built on a Remington 700 action, chambered in .223 Remington and will have a composite stock. During Barrel Fitting and Custom Alterations I will be chamber and fit barrels to these and make improvements as is needed on the actions. For Basic Stockmaking I am working on a two-piece wood stock for a Winchester 94.


For more background, please read my About me page.


Thank you for visiting,